The Susan G. Komen for the Cure shook up its top leadership Wednesday by announcing the resignation of its president and shifting role for its CEO and founder. Two members of its Board of Directors also announced their resignations.
Komen President Liz Thompson announced plans to leave the organization in September. Meanwhile, Komen Founder and CEO Nancy Brinker will shift to a new management role as chair of the Komen Board Executive Commiittee when the search for a new senior executive is finished.
Komen also announced, Brenda Lauderback and Linda Law, who have served on their board since 2008 and 2009 respectively, are leaving the board of directors.
Cheryl Shaw, Executive Director of the Puget Sound Komen chapter, reacted to the new direction.
It's a reflection of what national sees is the need for change. They've heard from the local affiliates, they've heard from the community about what we're looking for in terms of new direction, said Shaw. So we're very grateful for the new direction. We're very optimistic for the future.
The shakeup at the top comes after a controversial decision earlier this year by the national foundation to cut breast-screening grants to Planned Parenthood.
In January, the national Komen headquarters announced it was pulling funding from Planned Parenthood because of a government investigation, citing a probe launched by a Florida congressman at the urging of anti-abortion groups. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., wanted to look into accusations that Planned Parenthood had improperly used public funds for abortions.
Komen was blasted for the decison. Days later, the national organization reversed its position.
Komen officials said the leadership changes have nothing to do with the Planned Parenthood issue.
Shaw told KING 5 in February that the local chapter was opposed to the funding guidelines from the get-go.
When the decision became public, we wrote a letter to our national office and told them we were totally against this policy, that it had an adverse effect on our work here in the Puget Sound area and it really took us off of our mission. Our mission is to save lives and end breast cancer forever, said Shaw.
Unfortunately for Komen, its local chapters and the millons of women they support by promoting breast health and cancer screenings, the damage was done. Many long-time backers of the charity vowed to end their support. An unscientific poll on KING5.com in February found 65 percent of people said they would not support Komen in the future.
And about5,500 fewer people signed up for this year's Komen's Race for the Cure than last year, resulting in a loss in pledges.
KING 5 is a sponsor of the 2012 Race for the Cure.