Garday Resigns As CFP Board CEO

Louis J. Garday, chief executive officer of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, has resigned from the post, effective July 31, to return to the for-profit sector.

"I have accomplished the key goals that I set out to accomplish when I accepted this position," Garday said in a prepared release announcing his resignation. "I have enjoyed guiding CFP Board in this very exciting period for financial planning, and the time is right to return to the for-profit sector where I have spent the vast majority of my career."

Garday was not available for comment at press time because he was on leave from the CFP Board following his May wedding, according to CFP Board spokesman Lance Richlin. Rick Adkins, chair of CFP Board‚s Board of Governors, declined to discuss the specific circumstances of Garday‚s resignation.

CFP Board‚s surprise announcement on July 14 of Garday‚s resignation signaled the beginning of a search for a new CEO, a job that Garday held for two years and was the first to occupy. CFP Board Executive Vice President Gary Diffendaffer will assume responsibility for operations until a new CEO is appointed. The Board of Governors will appoint a committee that will conduct a national search for his replacement.

The CEO position was created in spring 2001 as part of an organizational restructuring that came after the resignation in 2000 of Robert Goss as CFP Board president. Dede Pahl served as the board‚s acting CEO until Garday was appointed.

Garday, a Denver CPA and an investment banker with nearly 30 years of experience in starting and running financial services companies, came into the CEO position without a background in financial planning. However, CFP Board was very impressed with his corporate management experience and enthusiasm–qualities the members felt would help Garday guide the organization during a period of rapid growth. In fact, the board was looking for someone who could get the organization running more efficiently and believed Garday‚s background would help him do that.

Adkins says Garday was excellent at business development and cutting costs, and one of his biggest accomplishments was to relocate the CFP Board Denver offices, saving more than $1 million over the life of the lease. "That was a huge savings for us," Adkins says. "Everything that could have been cut was cut."

But when the CEO turned his efforts to raising revenues, he was limited in what methods he could use because of the CFP Board‚s tax status as a 501c(3), nonprofit organization, Adkins says. Another issue frustrating Garday was the restrictions that trademark law places on the use of the CFP mark. However, Adkins says he couldn‚t elaborate on the ideas Garday had hoped to implement for raising revenue and using the trademark.

"I think Lou was very much of a change agent at the CFP Board. He had the advantage and disadvantage of being from the for-profit world," Adkins says. "The advantage was he brought a more businesslike structure to the way we operate, and I think the CFP Board benefited from what he did. The disadvantage is nonprofits have limitations that can get very frustrating for someone from the for-profit world, and I guess I could see some of those issues building. In May, I would have been awfully surprised, but it ended up being a win-win for both."

Adkins, CEO of the Arkansas Financial Group in Little Rock, says Garday had a tremendous impact during his tenure in extending the reach of CFP Board into areas like support for Ph.D. education and other public educational outreach. "He has led efforts to streamline operations in areas such as the disciplinary process and the organization‚s interface with its stakeholders, and he worked extensively with CFP Board‚s international council and affiliates to help increase access to competent and ethical financial planning for the international community," Adkins says.

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