Update and clarification on CEO search in DC

We have received conflicting responses to our previous post regarding the search for a new CEO for the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

The earlier post, citing The Washington Jewish Week, claimed that Gil Preuss, a high-up official at the Combined Jewish Philanthropies in Boston, had been offered the Washington job, but turned it down.

The post prompted a response from the Jewish Federations of North America, which is helping with the CEO search through its Mandel Center:

"The Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington are working diligently on a search for a new CEO of the federation. As is standard practice, we will maintain the confidentiality and integrity of the process and will not publicly discuss details of potential candidates, nor will we address unsubstantiated rumors that could potentially harm people. We are endeavoring to select the highest-caliber candidate for the position in the most timely manner. We will be happy to discuss details at the appropriate time."

That is not exactly a denial of the WJW’s story.  But it prompted a follow-up post by the reporter on the story, Adam Kredo, that cites a JFNA official saying that Preuss was never offered the job. Kredo is standing by the original story. And, for what it’s worth, we have had conversations with multiple trusted sources who corroborate the original.

Says Kredo, quoting a source, in his latest blog post:

"If that is the way it came down, it was only a matter of semantics. For all intents and purposes, Preuss was offered the job, and turned it down."  

The source added: "They are in damage control mode because they don’t want to diminish the job. They don’t want to diminish the perception that this is a job that is highly sought after, and that only the best person for the job would be offered the job and accept the job. By having the first person they offer it to turn it down, it makes it seem like leading the Washington federation is not something anybody would want."  

Plus, the source said, the federation "also don’t want to saddle Misha’s successor with being thought of as something other than the first choice."

In the end, we don’t want to turn a molehill into a mountain. Sources say the job remains a highly sought after position, as it is at a top-five Jewish federation in one of the country’s largest and wealthiest Jewish communities. This seems to be a case of the guy’s current employeer working hard to keep him — Preuss has been promoted to the second spot in Boston behind Barry Shrage. (And, a little birdie told us, the deal might include a promise that Preuss will get first crack at Shrage’s job whenever he retires.)

Here is the release from the CJP regarding Preuss’s promotion:

Gil Preuss Named Executive Vice President of CJP

This week, CJP announced the promotion of Gil Preuss to Executive Vice President.

Preuss previously served as Vice President of Strategy and Planning. In this new role Preuss will be working closely with CJP President, Barry Shrage, to expand CJP’s outreach in the community and assure the continued implementation of its strategic vision.

During his time at CJP Preuss helped launch and develop a $45 million initiative to improve Jewish day school education in Greater Boston; directed CJP’s Strategic Plan to identify and address the most pressing issues facing the Jewish community in the next ten years; and developed a new planning and allocation process to meet the immediate and long-term needs Jewish community.

Preuss will assume his new role while continuing to direct the planning department for the immediate future. 

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