Former mayor of Tempe, Ariz., says he is leaving to pursue personal interests, complete memoir
***image1**Neil Giuliano announced his resignation as the president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation on Wednesday, Jan. 29, saying that he is leaving the organization to pursue personal interests while completing his forthcoming book about his public and political life.
Giuliano, who will stay in his post until later in the year, has been GLAAD president since Sept. 1, 2005. He took the job after spending 10 years as mayor of Tempe, Ariz., and retiring from a 25-year career as a university administrator and faculty associate at Arizona State University, according to a written statement released Wednesday.
"I have informed the national board of directors of my decision to step down as president later this year and look forward to a successful and smooth transition of leadership for GLAAD," said Giuliano said in the statement.
"It’s been an honor and privilege to work professionally in the movement for LGBT equality for the last three and a half years," he said. "The views of the American people on LGBT issues are clearly moving in the right direction, toward supporting full equality, and it has been a great experience to serve on the front lines, leading an amazing organization at such a historical time in the movement."
GLAAD officials said the organization’s budget has grown from $7.5 million to $11 million during Giuliano’s tenure, with expanded individual, corporate and foundation support for its media advocacy and anti-defamation work on behalf of the LGBT community.
They said Giuliano expanded GLAAD’s influence and began media programs reaching out to young adults, communities of religion and faith, and the sports media while increasing the organization’s outreach and media relations support to local, regional, statewide and other LGBT advocacy organizations.
GLAAD also acquired Queer Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007 and will launch an advertising media program later in 2009 with the assets of the former Commercial Closet Association.
Officials said Giuliano also focuses on creating capacity and long-term sustainability for the organiztion, which, under his direction, successfully completed its 2003 strategic plan and announced a new five-year plan last fall to build on awareness, support, volunteers, programs and results.
Yvette Burton, co-chair of GLAAD’s national board of directors said Giuliano has been "a strong leader" who "advanced the organization significantly in the last three years."
"He will leave GLAAD a better and more effective organization than when he arrived and we appreciate his years of dedication and service," Burton said.
Her co-chair, Laurie Perper, said the board will begin the search process for a new president at its board meeting Feb. 6-8 in Los Angeles.
"This is a signature role in the movement for LGBT equality and we are sure there will be great interest in this opportunity," Perper said.