Thursday, October 18, 2012

Armstrong Remains On Livestrong 15-Member Board

Armstrong Remains On Livestrong 15-Member Board, In a move likely to send shockwaves through his hometown, Lance Armstrong said in a statement Wednesday that he will resign his longtime post as head of his Livestrong foundation to keep the nonprofit focused on fighting cancer, and distance it from the controversy surrounding his cycling career.

Minutes later, apparel giant Nike Inc. said it was severing ties with Armstrong “due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence” he participated in doping and “misled the company for more than a decade.”

Armstrong will remain on the 15-member board of his foundation, but Livestrong’s vice chairman and founding chairman Jeff Garvey will take over the reins, according to a lengthy statement released by the foundation early Wednesday.

“I have had the great honor of serving as this foundation’s chairman for the last five years and its mission and success are my top priorities,” Armstrong said in the statement. “Today therefore, to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship.”

The move is the latest in a series of developments tied to a long-running investigation into Armstrong’s professional cycling career that included seven Tour de France titles.

In July, Armstrong dropped plans to challenge the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s doping charges while still maintaining his innocence. Last week, the agency released a 1,000-page report detailing wide-scale doping among Armstrong and his cycling counterparts during his most prominent years as an athlete in the sport. The document boosted plans to ban Armstrong from cycling and erase 14 years of Tour titles and other career results.

Experts had suggested the detailed report could deal a devastating role to Armstrong and his brand, saying it could benefit Livestrong if he diminished his public role with the foundation.

Livestrong was created in 1996 as Armstrong’s own treatment for testicular cancer was coming to an end. Over the years, the foundation has served 2.5 million people and “helped spur a cultural shift in how the world views cancer survivors,” he said in the statement.

“This organization, its mission and its supporters are incredibly dear to my heart,” Armstrong said. “I am deeply grateful to the people of the foundation who have done such hard and excellent work over the last 15 years, building tangible and effective ways to improve the lives of cancer survivors. And I am deeply humbled by the support our foundation has received from so many people throughout the world — survivors, world leaders, business leaders and of course, the cancer community itself.”

Armstrong, who was not paid for his role as chairman, went on to say he entrusted “full confidence” to Garvey to continue to lead the foundation and continue its plans to expand its support of cancer survivors.

In essence, Garvey will assume many of the roles Armstrong once held as the public face of the foundation.

This weekend, the foundation is due to celebrate its 15th anniversary with a series of activities that will now be led by Garvey.

Armstrong said his work, along with his family’s work, with the foundation “will not change.” “We plan to continue our service to the foundation and the cancer community,” he said.

Doug Ulman, the longtime president and CEO of the foundation, said Armstrong’s leadership helped spur “immeasurable progress” in the cancer community and the group remains proud of his record. Armstrong also helped the group raise nearly $500 million to help those affected by the disease.

Garvey will likely offer a “seamless transition” as he takes over the reins, he said.

“Lance’s devotion to serving others whose lives were irrevocably changed by cancer, as his was, is unsurpassable. We are incredibly proud of his record as an advocate and philanthropist and are deeply grateful that Lance and his family will continue to be actively involved with the Foundation’s advocacy and service work.

We look forward to celebrating 15 years of progress with Lance and his family this weekend and recommitting ourselves to the work of the cancer community for the years ahead.”
Title: Armstrong Remains On Livestrong 15-Member Board
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