Magazine article Black Enterprise

NAACP President Resigns: Tension between Bruce Gordon and the Organization's Board Led to Departure

Magazine article Black Enterprise

NAACP President Resigns: Tension between Bruce Gordon and the Organization's Board Led to Departure

Article excerpt

After 19 months on the job, Bruce S. Gordon, a 61-year-old retired Verizon executive, resigned from his post as president of the NAACP, the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. The announcement, which came just two days after the organization's annual Image Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, stunned many who saw Gordon's strong business background as vital to help lead the venerable organization into the 21st century.

"At the end of the day, the board and I were not aligned in terms of how to operate the organization. I'm a businessperson who views a board's role very differently than this board [does]," says Gordon, who was named BLACK ENTERPRISE's Executive of the Year in 1998. According to Gordon, the 64-person board, wanted to micromanage the organization. "It's not a right or wrong thing. Our approaches were just not compatible." During his tenure, Booz Allen management consultant Reggie Van Lee volunteered to work with Gordon to develop a strategic three-year plan to help the organization operate more effectively. Although the full board gave the plan a standing ovation, the smaller executive board rejected the plan.

At the root of the differences between Gordon and the board was the NAACP's mission. While not abandoning the organization's roots of social justice, Gordon wanted to steer it toward social services; the board simply did not. "There are many organizations that do a fabulous job in providing social services to our community, but that's not what we do," says NAACP Chairman Julian Bond. "Our primary mission is social justice. That's what we've done since 1909, that's what we do today--that's our story and we're sticking to it."

Bond defended the board's role. "Mr. Gordon and his predecessor, Kweisi Mfume, did not report to the full board of directors. Each of them reported to a 17-person executive committee; that does not at all seem onerous to me," says Bond, who also defended the board's size. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.