Committee Assembles to Continue Selection Process for NAACP President/CEO

 A distinguished group of scholars, business leaders, clergy, activists, and NAACP board members and trustees met in Washington, D.C. recently to further the selection process for the NAACP’s President & CEO. Since March, the NAACP has been identifying potential candidates.

Dennis Courtland Hayes, the Association’s former General Counsel, is serving as the NAACP Interim President & CEO. 

“There has been no shortage of qualified applicants,” said NAACP Board Chairman Julian Bond. “Without solicitation, I have received upwards of 30 resumes from individuals expressing their sincere interest in leading the most respected and successful civil rights organization the world has ever known. The work of the selection committee is crucial in nominating individuals whose values are aligned with the NAACP’s mission of being truly dedicated to the principles of social justice and eradicating racial discrimination.”

Joining Chairman Bond on the selection committee are: NAACP Board members Rev. Wendell Anthony, pastor of Detroit’s Fellowship Chapel and President of the Detroit NAACP Branch, the largest in the nation; Cora Breckenridge, a retired speech/language pathologist and first African-American member of the Indiana University Board of Trustees; Gina Clayton, Harvard University Law student; Rev. Theresa A. Dear, a recognized thought leader and ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church; Dr. David E. Goatley, ordained Baptist minister and Executive Director of Lott Carey International—a global relief and development agency; Aubrey Hooper, former chairman of the NAACP National Youth Work Committee and youngest person in NAACP history to be voted state conference vice president; Adora Obi Nweze, adjunct professor and noted education professional; and Jesse H. Turner, Jr., President, Tri-State Bank of Memphis.

The remaining search committee members are:  Patrick R. Gaston, NAACP Special Contribution Fund Trustee and president of the Verizon Foundation; Mary Frances Berry, the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania; Heather Booth, president of the Midwest Academy, a national training center for social change organizations and founding Executive Director of the NAACP National Voter Fund; Wade Henderson, president/CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the nation’s premiere civil and human rights coalition; Lamell McMorris, managing partner of Perennial Sports and Entertainment, a Washington, D.C.-based firm that advises entertainment and sports clients on business planning, career moves and philanthropic concerns; and Ralph Neas, president emeritus of People For the American Way and People For the American Way Foundation.

The selection committee members are working in conjunction with Hodge / Niederer / Cariani / Lindsay, a leading executive search firm headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Atlanta and Washington D.C. J. Veronica Biggins, a partner in the Atlanta office, is leading the firm’s involvement.

“This is a tremendously important position with far-reaching implications for the NAACP,” said Biggins.  “We will work diligently to help identify a leader who embodies the mission and legacy of the NAACP and will keep it on the forefront of being the nation’s preeminent civil rights organization.”

Interested applicants can contact HNCL Search’s Atlanta office at 950 E. Paces Ferry Road, Suite 3375, Atlanta GA 30326 or via email at

In the course of its nearly 100 year history, the NAACP has had only 16 chief executives.     

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.  Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

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