3/18/2011

Linda Watt to leave post at Episcopal Church Center.

It's hard to know what the half life of an Episcopal Church Center "chief operating officer" is, but along about half way to two thirds way through a Presiding Bishop's term there is often a change of leadership in this and related offices.  The announcement came out today (March 18th).  I am sure there will be considerable discussion as to why and why now.  We will see.  Meanwhile, she will leave in June, meaning I suppose that she will be at the June Executive Council meeting in Maryland.

Here is the ENS article on her announcement. As far as I can tell, the press release referred to is in fact this article, minus the "according to" additions. (See Episcopal Cafe for what appears to be the actual release.)

Linda Watt, photo ENS
[Episcopal News Service] Former U.S. Ambassador Linda Watt has announced that she will leave her position as chief operating officer for the Episcopal Church in June 2011, according to a press release. 

"It has been an immense honor to serve the church and a privilege to support the presiding bishop's ministry," said Watt, in the March 18 release from the Office of Public Affairs. "I have been particularly blessed to meet and work with so many Episcopalians who are carrying out God's mission in life-giving ways. At this time I feel a very strong call to go home to southern Utah, to take my own ministry from an organizational to an individual level, and to spend more time with my husband, family, and friends." 

Following a U.S. State Department career in diplomacy that spanned several decades and continents, Watt was named chief operating officer in November 2006.  Since that time, she has led the staff through a restructuring that enabled the creation of a collaborative culture, re-energizing mission and ministry, according to the release. Among the many accomplishments under her leadership, ministry offices were established outside of New York City, and strategic planning was initiated, the release said.

"I am deeply grateful for Ambassador Watt's excellent management skills, her interpersonal gifts, and her insightful and creative leadership as chief operating officer," said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, in the release. "She arrived in early 2007 and immediately went to work learning the gifts and challenges in the systems of the Episcopal Church, and how best to lead an institutional change at the [Episcopal Church Center] Church Center. The culture shift which we have seen emerging is largely owing to her dedication and perseverance, and we are in her debt."

Watt served as U.S. ambassador to Panama from 2002-2005. She served from 1997 to 1999 as acting U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic, where she later served as deputy chief of mission. From 1993 to 1995 she was management officer of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and its three consulates. She also served in Ecuador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and England. She is a member of Grace Church in St. George, Utah, the release said.

The presiding bishop has named an advisory group to assist in the search for a new chief operating officer. The advisory group members are: the Rev. Timothy Anderson, canon for the Tri-Faith Initiative, Diocese of Nebraska, and Executive Council member; Judith Conley, president of the Diocese of Arizona Standing Committee; the Rt. Rev. Jay Magness, Bishop Suffragan for Armed Forces and Federal Ministries; Jon Meacham, executive vice president of Random House, member of St. Thomas Church and the vestry of Trinity Wall Street, both in New York; and the Rev. Canon Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop.

The presiding bishop will name the chief operating officer with advice and consent of a majority of the members of the Executive Council, as outlined in Canon 1.4.3(d).

"We look forward to the coming months, knowing that the Church Center is better equipped to make 
this transition, given Ambassador Watt's ministry among us," said Jefferts Schori, in the release.  

The advisory group consists of a member of Executive Council, two members of the Presiding Bishop's staff, not under the direction of the COO, and two active members of the Church with considerable corporate experience.

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