Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 27 No. 5
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

USA Diving Ousts BOD Chair After USOPC Decertification Threat

USA Diving has ousted BOD Chair Michele Mitchell under the threat of USOPC decertification, replacing her with retired LAPD assistant chief Dave Gascon. The USOPC in February threatened to remove the NGB's authority to operate the Olympic diving team -- effectively the death penalty -- if changes were not made. Investigators and auditors had discovered extensive self-dealing among the board, including Mitchell’s own decision to apply for the CEO job in '17 without recusing herself from the search. Gascon was one of four new independent BOD members to be named today, along with Cherwell Software General Counsel Alison Alfers; former iHeart Media Exec VP/Revenue & Sales Ops Peter Ban; and former Microsoft Chief Economist Preston McAfee. The independent directors are intended to decrease the power of insiders who have financial stakes in the BOD's decisions, a key problem cited by investigators. Most nonprofit governance experts say at least half your board should consist of independent members, but USA Diving at times had none. Now four of 15 voting members are independent. Mitchell will remain as a non-voting member. Mitchell is head coach at Mission Viejo Diving Club, which won the hosting rights to a major international competition earlier this year. Other issues cited by investigators included the board’s appointment of its own member Jack Perkins to be acting CEO, and its move to shift fee revenue allocation to local clubs at the expense of the national office finances. A USOPC spokesman could not be reached for comment.