Livestrong CEO resigns after less than 1 year

Chandini Portteus

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The chief executive and president of the Livestrong cancer foundation, which has struggled with sharp declines in donations and revenue since founder Lance Armstrong’s performance-enhancing drug use scandal, resigned Tuesday after less than one year on the job to focus on her family.

Chandini Portteus was brought in to help rebuild Livestrong, but the foundation now finds itself with yet another leadership change as its once-global brand continues to shrink. Greg Lee, the chief financial officer for Livestrong for nearly 10 years, will serve as president.

“It has been a privilege and an honor serving the Livestrong Foundation,” Portteus said in a statement released by Livestrong. “At this time, I am concluding my leadership in order to focus on my family. I will continue to support the organization and its mission and I’m proud of what we had achieved together.”

Livestrong had two straight years of sharp declines before Portteus took over in early 2015 at an annual salary of $350,000.

According to federal financial records, Livestrong’s 2013 donations dipped from nearly $23 million to $15 million after Armstrong’s televised admission of drug use. It also took a 38 percent dive that year in commercial revenue after sponsorships were canceled or not renewed.

KXAN Spoke with Portteus when she took the job

Livestrong’s 2014 financial report, filed at the end of 2015, showed a further 29 percent drop in revenue and donations down to less than $12 million. The report also noted a $10 million dip in total assets.

Records show that Livestrong donations have fallen 70 percent since 2009, the year Armstrong came out of retirement to finish third at the Tour de France, the race he won a record seven times. Armstrong was later stripped of those victories.

“Livestrong remains 100 percent devoted to serving people affected by cancer now and continues its legacy of outstanding service and leadership in the cancer community,” said Livestrong board chair Candice Aaron.

Aaron noted the foundation’s 10-year agreement to give $50 million to the new University of Texas Medical School. That deal was announced in late 2014.

Portteus came to Livestrong from Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest breast cancer foundation. She was hired after former CEO Doug Ulman left in 2014 for Columbus, Ohio-based Pelotonia.

Armstrong, a cancer survivor, started the charity as the Lance Armstrong Foundation in 1997 and it grew into a $500 million global brand. He was removed from its board of directors in late 2012, around the same time the foundation changed its name.

Armstrong had stayed away from the foundation until October 2015, when he participated in the annual Livestrong Challenge weekend in, the charity’s largest fund-raising weekend.

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