NAACP President Bruce Gordon said Sunday he is quitting the civil-rights organization after just 19 months at the helm.
Gordon cited growing strain with board members over the group's management style and future operations.
"I believe that any organization that's going to be effective will only be effective if the board and the CEO are aligned, and I don't think we are aligned," he said.
Julian Bond, chairman of the board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said Sunday that Gordon tried to quit just six weeks after taking the job in August 2005, but Bond convinced him to stay.
"There were occasions where it seemed just not to be a perfect fit," Bond said. "But he had many, many great qualities, and he exhibited those qualities when he worked for us. I'm disappointed that it came to this."
Gordon said: "I'm used to a CEO running an organization, with the board approving strategy and policy. But the NAACP board is very much involved."
Gordon, 61, was a surprise pick for the NAACP's top post. When he took over on Aug. 1, 2005, he had no track record in traditional civil-rights circles. He had spent 35 years in the telecommunications industry and retired in 2003 as president of the Retail Markets Group for Verizon Corp.
As NAACP president, he smoothed strained relations between the NAACP and the White House, meeting with President Bush three times in less than a year. He used his corporate ties to lend quick assistance to black New Orleans residents after Hurricane Katrina.
Bond has acknowledged that, with 64 members, the NAACP's board is large and sometimes unwieldy. But he has defended it, saying it allows a wide range of members' voices to be heard.