Atlanta BeltLine Inc. selects Korn/Ferry to do search for new CEO

By Maria Saporta

The Atlanta BeltLine Inc. board Wednesday morning selected Korn/Ferry International in its search for a new president and CEO of the organization.

Korn/Ferry submitted a proposal to do the search at no cost, and board chairman John Somerhalder said the firm met the BeltLine’s criteria to do the search.

The Atlanta BeltLine’s former president and CEO, Brian Leary, parted ways with the development organization in August after controversy over certain expenses made with taxpayer funds.

Since then, Lisa Gordon, who has been the BeltLine’s chief operating officer for nearly three years, was named as the interim chief executive.

“We want this to be an inclusive and transparent process,” Somerhalder said during the meeting. The board will hold a specially-called meeting in early November to define the position’s responsibilities at this stage in the project.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said he was pleased with how the BeltLine’s work was progressing.

“It continues to have my unwavering support,” Reed said after the meeting. “Korn/Ferry is a first rate firm to be leading the search.”

Asked how long before a new CEO is named, Somerhalder said the process is more important than the timing.

“We want to make sure we have the right individual in place,” Somerhalder said, adding that a new person could be named early next year. “At the same time, we have a very strong organization. It’s most important to get this done right.”

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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