DALLAS -- The president and the founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure are stepping down, the nation's largest breast cancer foundation said in announcing a major leadership shake-up. The high-profile departures come amid continuing fallout from Komen's decision earlier this year to briefly end funding for Planned Parenthood.
President Liz Thompson will leave Komen next month and founder Nancy Brinker will relinquish her chief executive's role for a position focused on fundraising and strategic planning, according to a statement released Wednesday by the Dallas-based organization.
The foundation announced in January its decision to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood for breast-cancer screening. Komen said it was because Planned Parenthood was the focus of a congressional investigation, launched at the urging of anti-abortion activists.
Komen restored the funding, but it didn't quell criticism. At least five other executives also resigned, and Race for the Cure event participation dropped.
Brinker founded the organization in 1982, two years after her sister, Susan G. Komen, died of breast cancer. Thompson joined in 2008 to head research and scientific programs, and she became president in 2010.
According to the statement, Thompson said the time was right to pursue other opportunities. She hailed the organization's leadership in pursuing a cure for breast cancer and for helping patients with screening, diagnosis and treatment.
"That legacy will continue. It has been a privilege and an honor to serve in this role," she said.
Brinker praised Thompson's work in expanding Komen's influence in scientific, community health, advocacy and global programs. Brinker said she assumed the chief executive's duties at the request of the foundation's board in 2009.