Top Executives Quit Susan G. Komen Foundation

At least five top officials have recently resigned from the Susan G. Komen foundation.At least five top officials have recently resigned from the Susan G. Komen foundation.At least five more top officials have resigned from Susan G. Komen for the Cure in the wake of the breast-cancer charity's public battle with Planned Parenthood earlier this year.

"Obviously, we know some folks are upset. We've certainly seen that," Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun told The Associated Press. "We know people have been upset by recent events, but most really do recognize the importance of our work."

[Related: Can the Susan G. Komen Foundation recover from its Planned Parenthood missteps?]

Komen Vice President Karen Handle accepted responsibility for the decision to defund Planned Parenthood and resigned in the immediate wake of the controversy in early February

"I fully acknowledge that I was involved in this. I fully embrace that I was the lead in developing alternatives and working through the process," she said in an interview at the time, during which she also accused Planned Parenthood of "hijacking" the breast-cancer charity.



About a month ago, Chris McDonald, executive director and CEO of Komen's Oregon and southwest Washington affiliate, announced that she would be stepping down in April.

"Despite our deep frustration about the distraction that our organization headquarters' actions caused, I was proud that our affiliate took a strong stand against the politicization of the fight to improve women's health," she in a Feb. 25 statement posted on the organization's website.

Three executives resigned from positions at the charity's Dallas headquarters. Katrina McGhee, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, said that she was leaving "for personal reasons" and because it was "time to make a change," the Associated Press reported. Nancy Macgregor, vice president of global networks, announced that she'd be stepping down in June, and Joanna Newcomb, director of affiliate strategy and planning, left the organization at the end of February. Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall Jr., chairman of the foundation's board of directors , has said that he will step down as of March 31, but will remain on the board, Aun said. He told the board that he is "stepping back a bit" because of his responsibilities as provost at Howard University, she added.

In New York, affiliate CEO Dr. Dara Richardson-Heron announced on Tuesday that she will leave April 27 to pursue "new career opportunities where I may continue to utilize my education, experience and expertise as well as fuel my passion to make a difference in the health and welfare of others," she said in a statement.

The New York affiliate is Komen's largest fund-raiser; its board and staff opposed the move to stop funding Planned Parenthood's grants. Since then, the affiliate has postponed two spring fund-raisers because they were "not certain about our ability to fund-raise in the near term," Vern Calhoun, the affiliate's communications director, said.

"I think it is of huge significance that the chief executive of the No. 1 affiliate of Komen has resigned," Eve Ellis, who served on the New York board from 2004 to 2010 and headed the search committee that selected Dr. Richardson-Heron, told The New York Times. "Personally, I wouldn't be giving or raising money for them right now."

Meanwhile, calls for the resignation of Komen founder and CEO Nancy G. Brinker continue to grow.

"You hate to see the organization slowly bleed away its staffing and its talent," Daniel Borochoff, the president of CharityWatch, told The New York Times. "They may very well need to get a new board and a new chief executive."

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