Red Cross Dismisses President, Citing Relationship November 27, 2007 By STEPHANIE STROM The American Red Cross today dismissed Mark W. Everson, its president and chief executive, citing in an unusually candid statement his personal relationship with a subordinate employee. The news struck another blow to an organization that had sought to overcome the severe criticism of its performance in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and other past disasters, and it stunned the organizations employees as well as the nonprofit world at large. Although this is difficult and disappointing news for the Red Cross community, the organization remains strong and the life-saving mission of the American Red Cross will go forward, Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, chairman of the Red Cross board, said in the statement. The Red Cross has suffered from rapid turnover of leadership since Elizabeth Dole, now a Republican senator from North Carolina, stepped down as president in 1999. Her replacement, Dr. Bernadine Healy, resigned after less than two years, and it took more than a year to name her successor, Marsha J. Evans. Ms. Evans resigned in 2005 after waging a quiet but bitter power struggle with the Red Cross board, and it took the organization another year to find Mr. Everson, who was then commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. He was seen as a strong leader capable of dealing with the organizations huge bureaucracy, standing up to its powerful board and reassuring major donors. Suzy C. DeFrancis, chief public affairs officer for the Red Cross, said information about the relationship between Mr. Everson and an employee was brought to the boards attention about 10 days ago by a senior executive. The board confronted him with that information, and he acknowledged the relationship, Ms. DeFrancis said. The board concluded that the situation reflected poor judgment on Mr. Eversons part and diminished his ability to lead the organization in the future, the statement said. Ms. DeFrancis said there had been no threat of a lawsuit so far. The first feeling is that this is a huge punch in the stomach, she said. But this organization is strong and making progress and will get past this. Mr. Everson did not respond to a message left on his cellphone. His wife, Nanette, served in the White House counsels office during the Bush administration and, most recently, as general counsel at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a position she left last spring to return to the private sector. Since he joined the Red Cross at the end of May, Mr. Everson has traveled around the country, visiting chapters and blood services operations and courting donors. He set ambitious fund-raising targets, and he said in a conversation about eight weeks ago that he was concerned about declining donations. How much you want to bet his affair was either with an underage female or a hot, young twink?