Dobson Resigns as Focus Chairman; Will Remain as Radio Host

Article excerpt

Byline: Valerie Richardson, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

DENVER -- James Dobson, one of the nation's most powerful evangelicals, has resigned as chairman of Focus on the Family, the conservative Christian organization he founded 32 years ago.

Mr. Dobson, 72, parlayed his daily radio show into a national role, becoming one of the most influential voices among Christian conservatives, and helping to make a place for social and religious conservatives in the Republican Party coalition while holding politicians' feet to the fire on issues such as abortion, gay marriage and school vouchers.

A child psychologist by training, Mr. Dobson plans to stay on as host of the organization's popular radio program, which reaches an estimated 1.5 million U.S. listeners, and will continue to write the organization's weekly newsletter, sent to 1.6 million people per month.

The move represents what Focus officials described as the next step in a transition plan to reduce Mr. Dobson's administrative duties. The first step came six years ago when he stepped down as president and chief executive officer.

One of the common errors of founder-presidents is to hold to the reins of leadership too long, thereby preventing the next generation from being prepared for executive authority. I have wanted not to make that mistake with Focus on the Family, which is why I stepped back, first from the presidential duties six years ago, and now, from board chairmanship, he said.

While he described letting go as difficult after three decades of intensive labor, he added that it is the wise thing to do.

Wife Shirley Dobson also stepped down from the Colorado Springs-based organization's board of directors. Mr. Dobson was elected to the position of founder and chairman emeritus, while Mrs. Dobson now holds the title of director emerita for the nonprofit ministry.

A statement released Friday added that the Dobsons were anxious to devote themselves to the joys of grandparenting.

The organization also announced that Mr. Dobson would be succeeded as board chairman by Lt. Gen. Patrick Caruana, a board member since 1996 and vice chairman since 2006.

Gen. Caruana, who served 36 years in the Air Force, was vice president of Northrop Grumman Space Technology from 2002 to 2005. …