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Chair of Susan G. Komen Foundation's Board Stepping Down

LaSalle Leffall Jr., who is leaving to focus on his duties as the provost at Howard University, will remain on the charity's board.


LaSalle D. Leffall Jr., the chair of the Susan G. Komen foundation's board, is stepping down from his post in order to concentrate on his work as the provost of Howard University, the Washington Post reported.

However, a source familiar with the board said Howard asked Leffall to distance himself from the breast cancer charity after February's controversy over Komen’s attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, according to the Post. The individual requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the board, the Post reported.

Leffall, who will remain on the Susan G. Komen board, declined to comment on his resignation. The changes to the board take effect March 31, and were announced at one of the charity's regularly scheduled meetings in Dallas on Thursday, the Post reported.

The Komen foundation's former director Robert Taylor, 83, is being brought back to take on the position of board chair, according to Top News.

The breast cancer foundation has seen at least five high-ranking executives resign in the wake of the Planned Parenthood debacle, including three officials from Komen's Dallas headquarters and the CEOs of affiliate groups in Oregon and New York, CBS News reported.

Komen Executive Vice President Katrina McGhee announced last month she would resign, but would continue to consult for the charity, according to Politico.

The morale at the foundation is "extremely low," New York Magazine reported. Donations have slowed significantly in the wake of the controversy, during which Komen announced that it was no longer going to provide grants for Planned Parenthood breast cancer screenings due to a congressional investigation into whether the group was financing abortions with federal money, the Post reported.

Komen reversed its decision after an overwhelming public reaction to the news.

The staff has since seen a sharp decline in donations, and is currently trying to slice the organization's budget, according to New York Magazine.

"Obviously, we know some folks are upset. We've certainly seen that," Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun told CBS. "We know people have been upset by recent events, but most really do recognize the importance of our work."

The foundation has also conducted an anonymous survey among its staff to find out if they planned to leave within the next year, according to New York Magazine.

“We understand that people are unhappy,” Aun said, according to the Post. “Nancy Brinker has said this repeatedly, that we certainly regret the actions we’ve taken, and that we’ve begun the healing process and want people to realize that we’re still the organization helping women in our community deal with breast cancer.”