The American Red Cross has announced that Marsha J. Evans will step down as president and CEO of the organization at the end of the month.
Jack McGuire, executive vice president of the Red Cross's biomedical services division, has been named interim president and CEO. McGuire has served in his current role since March 2004, following a career of more than twenty-two years as a leader in the biomedical field.
Evans, a retired Navy admiral and former head of the Girl Scouts of America, joined the D.C.-based relief organization in August 2002, when it was struggling to overcome media and congressional criticism of its response to the September 11 terrorist attacks. While the Red Cross emerged from 9/11 promising to be more open and accountable, hurricanes Katrina and Rita presented it with new challenges, which resulted in a fresh round of criticism having to do with the organization's failure to cooperate with local organizations and respond effectively in low-income, minority areas.
Evans has acknowledged that the organization's response to the hurricanes was uneven, but said she had been planning to leave the Red Cross before Katrina battered the Gulf Coast. "I had been thinking about leaving the organization after my three-year anniversary on August 5, but in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I knew I had to stay and lead our pivotal response to that epic tragedy. Now, with our successful hurricane response continuing in steady hands, I believe the time is right to step down."