Running Commentary

In the corporate world, old and new CEOs change places in a matter of weeks or even days. The U.S. presidency, arguably one of the world's most complicated jobs, has a turnover time of just two months, with little if any information exchange between the outgoing and incoming presidents.

APA has chosen a wiser course for this important changing of the guard. Recognizing the importance of the CEO transition, the Board of Directors, under the leadership of President Phil Zimbardo, allowed a full year for the change. This allowed time for a careful national search and an opportunity for overlap between the outgoing and incoming CEOs. When I told the board last December that I planned to retire in December 2002, it moved rapidly to retain a search firm and to appoint a search committee to oversee the process. The search committee, chaired by President-elect Bob Sternberg and Board Member Carol Goodheart, reviewed a large pool of candidates identified by the search firm and decided on the finalists to recommend to the board.

APA's next chief

The Board of Directors interviewed the finalists and unanimously agreed to offer the position to Norman Anderson, who had also been ranked in the top tier by the search committee. APA's Council of Representatives overwhelmingly confirmed the appointment in September without a dissenting vote.

Thanks to good planning and a search committee that worked efficiently, the search was concluded by midsummer, leaving ample time for a smooth transition. This fall, the CEO-elect has been able to spend several days a week in preparation for the position of CEO. During the past three months, Dr. Anderson, already an experienced administrator, has had an opportunity to meet with a broad segment of the APA staff, to participate in meetings of the executive directors and to attend several meetings of the Board of Directors.

I have particularly enjoyed the many hours Norman and I have had to discuss the nuts and bolts of the CEO position. I have found him to be a warm, thoughtful person who is a quick study and enthusiastic about the opportunities and challenges of the position.

A new chapter

Having a full year for the transition process has been a very large plus for APA. It has prepared the new CEO to "hit the ground running" in January and has accustomed the staff and the board to working with him. It has also been a plus for me. I've been here a long time, and this has allowed me time to complete unfinished APA business as well as the personal business of moving into a new chapter of my life.

I think of my transition from the CEO position to retirement as a challenge--one I look forward to, but still a challenge. I see the next years of my life as a process of re-inventing myself. I have no doubt that I will be doing interesting things--I've never been bored in my life--but I don't know exactly what they will be. I've decided to give myself a year to "decompress." Then I'll decide what I want to do with the rest of my years.

I came to this position because I loved APA and respected what it could do for psychology and for the nation. I feel that even more strongly now than I did before. It has been good to be part of APA over these years and to see it grow in size, resources and in the ability to do good things that support our members and make people's lives better. The past 13 years as CEO have been exciting and professionally fulfilling. I leave with very good feelings about those years and with great optimism about APA's future.

I am grateful for the kind words from so many of you at the convention, in the Monitor and in letters, e-mails and calls. My years with APA have been deeply meaningful to me and to my wife, Sandy, as well. We want to say thank you to the wonderful APA staff, to the Board of Directors, the Council of Representatives and to the thousands of members who support APA in so many ways and who have made our lives over these years so rewarding.

Warmest regards,                                                                                                                                           Ray