President Liz Thompson will leave Komen next month and founder Nancy Brinker, who has long been the public face of the charity, will relinquish her chief executive's role for a position focused on fundraising and strategic planning, according to a statement released Wednesday by the Dallas-based organization.
It's the latest shake-up since news emerged in January that Komen had decided to eliminate its funding for Planned Parenthood for breast-cancer screening. Komen said it made the decision because Planned Parenthood was the focus of a congressional investigation, which was launched at the urging of anti-abortion activists.
Komen restored the funding after a three-day firestorm, but it didn't quell the criticism. At least five other high-ranking executives also have resigned, and organizers of many Race for the Cure events saw their participation numbers drop.
Brinker founded the organization in 1982, two years after her sister, Susan G. Komen, died of breast cancer. Thompson joined the group in 2008 to head research and scientific programs, and she was promoted to president in 2010.
According to the statement, which makes no reference to the Planned Parenthood decision or fallout, Thompson said the time was right for her to pursue other opportunities. She hailed the organization's leadership in pursuing a cure for breast cancer and for helping women and men with cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment.
"That legacy will continue. It has been a privilege and an honor to serve in this role," she said.
Brinker praised Thompson's work in expanding Komen's influence in scientific, community health, advocacy and global programs. As for her changed role, Brinker said she assumed the chief executive's duties at the request of the foundation's board in 2009.