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Komen president resigning, founder shifting roles

Published August 8, 2012 7:04 pm

Shake-up • Organization was criticized for funding policy toward Planned Parenthood.
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Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the breast-cancer advocacy group criticized earlier this year for its funding policy toward Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said it's searching for both a new chief executive officer and president.

Nancy Brinker, the founder and current CEO, will be moving to a new management position when a top administrator is chosen. Liz Thompson, the group's president, will leave next month, Dallas-based Komen said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement. The organization is the largest breast-cancer advocacy group in the U.S.

"Liz's expertise and steady hand have helped us build on already outstanding programs, and we wish her well in her future endeavors," Brinker said in the statement.

Brinker will focus on creating revenue, strategy and global growth in her new position as chairwoman of the Komen Board Executive Committee. Two board members, Brenda Lauderback, a former executive with Nine West Group Inc., and Linda Law, a founding partner of the real estate development group Law & Associates, are also leaving, the group said in the statement.

Komen's plans to make management changes were reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.

The group's decision earlier this year not to continue grants for 16 of 19 local Planned Parenthood affiliates sparked questions about its motives after Planned Parenthood said the action was prompted by pressure from anti-abortion forces.

Funding decision • Komen said it ended the Planned Parenthood funding after reviewing grant criteria and deciding to deny money to any organization under federal, state or local investigation. The group cited a probe by U.S. Representative Cliff Stearns, a Florida Republican and chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, into the use of government money by New York-based Planned Parenthood.

Brinker said the decision involving the Planned Parenthood grants wasn't political and Komen later reversed its action.

Komen, which provides $93 million in grants to local communities for breast-cancer education, screening and treatment, is known for the pink ribbons it first distributed to breast-cancer survivors and participants of the Komen New York City Race for the Cure in 1991, according to its website.

The foundation also funds research on the disease. Brinker founded the group in 1982 after her sister, Susan G. Komen, died of breast cancer.

"Our mission is clear and consistent, and will never change, regardless of the controversy earlier this year," Brinker said in the statement. "We are doing everything in our power to ensure that women have access to quality cancer care and the support that they need, as we seek answers through cutting-edge research."