June 17, 2013; ABC News (Associated Press)
On Monday, Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced that Nancy Brinker would step aside as CEO and that Judith Salerno, a researcher and policy expert at the Institute of Medicine would take her place. But for the last year and a half we have felt like we need a translator for any announcements that come out of Komen.
A few weeks ago, Susan G. Komen for the Cure cancelled its signature walk events for 2014 in half of the cities where they were scheduled. That brought back to the surface a revelation from a few weeks before about the fact that CEO Nancy Brinker’s salary had been raised in 2011 to more than $684,000. Despite the fact that, as a Komen spokeswoman assured everyone, the salary increase happened before the fiasco with the defunding of Planned Parenthood, people associated the two, which resurfaced the continuing anger about the organization’s problems, among which seems to be a certain level of tone deafness where constituents are concerned. For instance, in response to a newswire from NPQ, Komen’s spokeswoman asserted that the raise happened prior to any organizational decline in revenue, and then went on to say that Brinker had later refused an additional increase in 2012.
It doesn’t bolster their credibility to note that though Brinker announced her resignation approximately a year ago, she never actually stepped down. In fact, even if she had stepped “down,” the job that she would have been going to—a “new management role focusing on revenue creation, strategy and global growth as chair of the Komen Board Executive Committee”—appeared to be a step up in leadership.
Our assumption is that Brinker plans on staying. We don’t stand with those who think that a founder cannot stay on once a new leader steps in, but in this case, we doubt somewhat that this leadership shift is entirely…how shall we say it?…sincere in its aim to transfer the reins of power. What do you think?—Ruth McCambridge