Girl Scouts of the USA has appointed Sylvia Acevedo as interim CEO following Anna Maria Chavez’s departure. Chavez, who has been in her role since 2011, will depart June 30 to return to public service.
"It has been a tremendous privilege to lead Girl Scouts," Chavez said said in a statement. "It is an organization very close to my own beginnings, and I credit Girls Scouts with building in me the confidence and desire to make this a world where girls can realize their full potential. Girl Scouts and its leadership, at every level, are dedicated to achieving that goal, and I am honored to have been part of the mission."
Chavez, who held a series of government posts before becoming CEO of the Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas in 2009, struggled to address membership challenges, which plunged 20 percent to about 2.9 million from 2003 to 2012, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy. The group's 312 local councils also consolidated to 112. It also faced financial problems, including increased pension obligations. Chavez cut her national staff by 25 percent by 2013 and received heavy criticism from employees.
Acevedo, the secretary and executive committee member for the organization's national board of directors, will fill the role of CEO on an interim basis as the nonprofit begins a national search for a permanent successor. She is a strategic consultant to companies that wish to use technology to capitalize on demographic trends, and also serves as a White House commissioner on the Presidential Initiative for Hispanic Educational Excellence and champions STEM education for young women.
"Sylvia Acevedo is the ideal choice to lead GSUSA during this transitional period," Kathy H. Hannan, president of Girl Scouts' board of directors, said in a statement. "She is an officer of the national board of directors and a talented technology executive who has held positions with some of the world's most respected companies. She has earned national prominence with regard to women's and Hispanic issues. Most importantly, she understands our mission and is committed to leading us forward."