Site’s board announced November 3 that the association is “reorganizing” and making a shift “from building external partnerships to investing in programming and education to support the needs of members,” which will include the departure of CEO Brenda Anderson January 1, 2011.
In a statement at the opening of the association’s annual fundraiser—the Site Classic, in the Bahamas—attendees were informed that “the CEO position is being changed to an operational, internal-facing role. Brenda Anderson, who has served in this role for the last seven-and-a-half years, was not interested in taking on the redefined role and felt it would be a move in the wrong direction at this point in her career. Brenda has agreed to work through the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition.”
Allison Summers, executive director of Site and the Site International Foundation, will become managing director of both organizations, while the association will rely on its board of directors to take “a more active and visible role in delivering the Site message to the marketplace and its members.”
Anderson was instrumental in defending the value of incentive travel during the AIG scandal, educating the public about the industry as well as its value to the economy and the implications when jobs are lost as a result of canceled programs. Through interviews in most of the media outlets, from USA Today to “ABC News,” she tirelessly defended an industry under attack.
Anderson was also at the helm in 2006 when the head of the former Site Foundation, Frank Katusak, severed all ties with Site and formed the Incentive Research Foundation. Site relaunched its own Foundation, which went on to create the successful Site Nite, the opening event to The Motivation Show, and to release several of its own research studies, including most recently the “2010 Study of the German Incentive & Motivational Travel Market.”
Many in the industry have expressed surprise and sadness about Anderson leaving, among them Ray Bloom, chairman of IMEX and Site’s treasurer. “I am sorry that Brenda Anderson is leaving SITE,” he said. “She was an outstanding CEO and played a major role as an industry leader, particularly during the difficulties of the last two years. We worked successfully together on many initiatives. She leaves a great legacy.”
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