Editor’s Note: Washington Post reports on the decision by Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr. to step down as Chairman of the Susan G. Komen foundation. The Howard University surgeon explained the move as due to numerous other responsibilities, however there’s evidence suggesting this is an effort by Leffall to distance himself from the cancer charity following the controversy in February over Komen’s decision to de-fund Planned Parenthood which they later revered.
A prominent Howard University surgeon who chairs the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation is stepping down from the post but remaining on the breast cancer charity’s board, Komen officials said Thursday.
LaSalle D. Leffall Jr., 81, made the decision because of his duties as provost of Howard University, a Komen spokeswoman said. Leffall declined to comment. A person familiar with the board’s deliberations said Howard University wanted Leffall to distance himself from the Komen board — including taking a possible leave — since the controversy in February about Komen’s unsuccessful attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. The individual did not want to be identified because he was not authorized to speak for the board.
Thursday’s move is the latest in a series of leadership changes at Komen, and the first at the board level. Several executives at headquarters and affiliates have left or announced they are stepping down. Questions have also been raised about the charity’s fundraising ability. Komen’s senior leadership has sought to reassure affiliates and donors that it has learned valuable lessons from the public relations fiasco.