American Red Cross Announces New
By STEPHANIE STROM
Published: April 18, 2007
The American Red Cross said today that it had chosen
Mark W. Everson, the commissioner of the Internal
Revenue Service, as its new chief executive. The
choice was confirmed by its board this morning.
Mr. Eversonís appointment ends a search that has
lasted more than a year, as the Red Cross struggled
to overcome criticism of its performance after
Hurricane Katrina and waited for Congress to pass
legislation changing its governance structure.
Candidates for the job were wary of taking it before
Congress restructured the Red Cross board and
clarified the relationship between it and the
organizationís senior management. The bill to do so
was passed by the Senate in March and by the House
of Representatives this month, clearing a major
obstacle in the search.
Mr. Everson has worked to improve I.R.S. oversight
of the nonprofit sector, increasing the resources
devoted to the unit handling tax-exempt
organizations and cracking down on the abuse of
charities as tax shelters, nonprofit credit
counseling and excessive compensation among
He has pushed enforcement across the agency more
broadly as well, pursuing the promoters of abusive
tax shelter schemes, though he has been criticized
for saying he would delay collecting back taxes from
victims of Hurricane Katrina because of the
potential negative publicity.
Mr. Everson faces several challenges. His three
predecessors battled with the board, which has
tended to micromanage the organization and to
interfere with and even reverse management
directives. The legislation enacted last month seeks
to address that problem by reducing the size of the
board and by changing the way board members are
nominated to reduce the power of the Red Cross
chapters, which have traditionally controlled the
Mr. Everson replaces Jack McGuire, who has served as
interim president while the board sought a permanent
leader after the departure of Marsha J. Evans, a
retired rear admiral of the Navy, in 2005. Admiral
Evans, who was charged with restoring the
organizationís reputation after the terrorist
attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, resigned in the midst of
wide-ranging criticism of the Red Crossís response
to Hurricane Katrina.
Her resignation was chalked up to disagreements with
the board and its chairwoman, Bonnie McElveen-Hunter,
just as the departure of her predecessor, Dr.
Bernadine Healy, was attributed to differences with
Mr. Everson also will confront a deeply entrenched
culture. The Red Cross, for instance, has been slow
to adopt technology that could streamline its
logistics operations and improve accountability.