UPDATE: Jordan (Doesn't) Say Goodbye

Julanne Hohbach

OCLC is keeping quieter than a stern school librarian regarding the sudden un-retirement of president and CEO Jay Jordan.

The library services organization has declined to elaborate much beyond a June 20 news release that stated Jordan would not retire June 30-as he had announced in June 2011. OCLC had revealed June 8 that Jack Blount, 60, would succeed Jordan, 69, at the helm.

According to the release, "The OCLC Board of Trustees has concluded that rather than moving forward with the appointment of Jack B. Blount as its President and CEO, it is in the best interest of OCLC to have Jay Jordan continue serving in these capacities. Mr. Jordan has agreed to postpone his retirement to continue leading OCLC."

"The Board's first priority is to assess its succession planning process and develop a plan for finding a successor to Jay. The Board will be meeting soon to determine next steps," OCLC spokesmanRobert Murphy wrote in an email to Columbus C.E.O.

The announcement came just prior to the annual American Library Association conference, attended by many OCLC member libraries. OCLC board Chairman Larry Alford spoke about the issue during the President's Luncheon, assuring attendees that the organization is in good hands. "The OCLC Board of Trustees believes Mr. Jordan's strong track record, his skills as a leader, and his ability to identify and navigate emerging trends, make him well-qualified to serve the nearly 72,000 institutions that are part of the cooperative," Alford said, in remarks shared by Murphy. "I want to assure you that the board considered its decision very carefully. It acted unanimously in taking an action that is in the best interests of OCLC and member libraries.

"We are confident that asking Jay to remain in the President and CEO position for a period is the right thing to do for OCLC, the cooperative and libraries," Alford said. "We are very grateful to Jay for agreeing to postpone his retirement."

Reprinted from the August 2012 issue of Columbus C.E.O. Copyright © Columbus C.E.O.