Chicago, IL —
The Board of Directors of Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) confirmed late Friday that it accepted the resignation of President and CEO Jamal Edwards after a controversial two-year tenure at the LGBT community health care center.
First reported by the Windy City Times
, HBHC leadership made the announcement during a staff meeting held at 2:30 p.m. on Friday.
"It's really time for me to focus my energies elsewhere, on my personal life... and just move my career professionally back in the direction that I feel like it needs to go," Edwards told Gay Chicago TV
Edwards, 35, was appointed CEO at Howard Brown Health Center
in June 2010. Crain's Chicago Business named Edwards to their "40 Under 40" list in 2011, but his tenture with HBHC was not without controversy including a number of key staff departures.
In a statement released to ChicagoPride.com, the board confirmed he was leaving to pursue other opportunities. Edwards' resignation comes a year before his three-year contract was up.
"Our staff members provide quality healthcare services to the community and are Howard Brown Health Center
's most important asset. We want them to know that we are taking steps to ensure this transition goes smoothly and to encourage them to continue providing the critical services that our clients expect from us," said Board Chairwoman Karma Israelsen, who was appointed as interim president and CEO effective Friday.
A Chicago resident, Israelsen joined the board of directors in July 2010 and became chair in January 2011 as part of HBHC's efforts to renew and strengthen the organization's leadership after its financial crisis.
The board credited Edwards with leading the organization back to financial stability after an investigation revealed mishandling of grant funds by previous leadership.
"Jamal has provided strong leadership and gave Howard Brown Health Center
what it needed – a path to financial stability – at a critical time in our organization's history," said Israelsen.
The crisis was averted when the public, including more than 2,500 donors, contributed to HBHC's Lifeline Appeal
The board also endorsed current vice chair Duke Alden, a vice president at Aon Corporation, as the interim Board chairman.
"Karma's business expertise and understanding of Howard Brown Health Center
's strengths and opportunities will provide critical leadership and stability during this transition," said Alden. "The board will be working with her during this transition as we determine the next steps in a search for a new CEO."
Israelsen is the former vice president for Career Education Corporation where she directed systems analysis and regulatory operations. She spent several years in the hotel and hospitality industry.
Information regarding a search for a new president and CEO will be released later by the board.
HBHC was founded in 1974 and has grown into one of the nations largest health care and research organizations serving the LGBT community and allies.Watch: Jamal Edwards on his resignation and the future of HBHC
(Gay Chicago TV)Related: Jamal Edwards leaves Howard Brown, agency loses more key staff
(Windy City Times
)Related: Can Howard Brown survive Jamal Edwards?
(Time Out Chicago, May 31, 2012