OKLAHOMA CITY -- More than a year after Feed The Children fired president and founder Larry Jones, the charity has named an interim president.
Cass Wheeler will lead the organization indefinitely. Wheeler is the retired CEO of the American Heart Association. He currently lives near Austin, Texas, and will split his time as an independent consultant between FTC's Oklahoma City headquarters and his home office.
"This represents a huge accomplishment as Feed The Children continues improving its operation, restoring its reputation and, ultimately, helping more people," said board chairman Rick England said. "Cass Wheeler's leadership and experience will be invaluable as we focus on our mission. No doubt, our brightest days are ahead."
FTC has had some dark days in the last year. The organization fired Jones in November 2009. He sued for wrongful termination. The charity filed a countersuit, accusing Jones of taking bribes, hiding pornographic magazines and committing other misdeeds.
FTC also fired Jones' daughter, Lari Sue, in August. She also filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the charity.
Wheeler said one of his first priorities will be to develop a strategic plan for FTC. He will also help guide the group's board development by examining its structure and the skill sets of existing members. Wheeler said he's excited about the opportunity to help FTC grow.
"What impresses me most is its re-commitment to transparency and mission. To me, that was a key indicator that things are on the right track," said Wheeler. "This organization was created in order to feed children and help people, and to do it as effectively and efficiently as possible. This is a wonderful organization, supported by great people with a strong sense of purpose. I'm thrilled to be part of the team."
Wheeler said he expects to be with FTC for six to 12 months. He will help the organization search for a permanent president.