American Red Cross President Resigns - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/13/05-New York City

American Red Cross President Resigns

The president of the American Red Cross, Marsha J. Evans, who oversaw the charity's vast and sometimes criticized response to Hurricane Katrina, is resigning effective at the end of this month, the organization said Tuesday.

Jack McGuire, the executive vice president of the charity's Biomedical Services, was named to serve interim president and CEO, while a search for a permanent successor to Evans is conducted.

Evans, a former head of the Girl Scouts of America, took over as Red Cross president in August 2002. At the time the organization was shaking off criticism of how it handled some of the donations sent in response to the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.

The Red Cross emerged from that controversy with promises of greater openness and accountability, but the unprecedented challenges posed by this year's hurricanes raised new problems. Some critics said the Red Cross failed to respond quickly enough in some low-income, minority areas; others faulted it for balking at cooperation with local grass-roots organizations.

Evans acknowledged in September that the organization's response to Katrina and Hurricane Rita was uneven, but said the destructive power of the storms -- along with the flooding that followed -- "eclipsed even our direst, worst-case scenarios."

In a statement Tuesday addressed to her colleagues Evans said she had been thinking about leaving the Red Cross earlier, but stayed on after Katrina hit to "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," she said. "I look forward to spending more time with my family."

She praised the services of the 220,000 volunteers who responded to the hurricanes, and described the charity as "far better prepared to face the challenges of the future than when I joined you all in August 2002."

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