In May 2012, during the FPA Retreat, Marv Tuttle, the long-serving (and only) executive director and CEO of the Financial Planning Association, signaled his intent to retire in 2014. On Tuesday, the FPA board announced that Tuttle’s resignation has been moved up for family reasons, and that the COO and associate executive director of the largest planners’ group, Lauren Schadle, would assume the post on Oct. 3, just after the FPA’s annual conference concludes in San Antonio. Like Tuttle, Schadle has a long association with the FPA and one of its predecessor organizations, the ICFP, and both hold the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation.
Paul Auslander, FPA’s president, said in an interview Monday that it “might surprise the world, but not us”—meaning the FPA’s board—on “how ready Lauren is to do this job.” Moreover, he pointed out that while Tuttle is stepping down, effective Oct. 2, as CEO, “Marv isn’t going away” and will continue to serve as a resource for the FPA.
Originally, the FPA had said that a search committee would begin its formal work following the FPA board’s annual August retreat, but Auslander (right) said that when the search firm that FPA had consulted suggested that a comprehensive search would take four to six months, “we felt it wouldn’t be fair to Lauren or the staff” or the organization itself to have such an interregnum. “Lauren would have been a finalist” for the position anyway, Auslander said, but during its retreat, the board “had a plan and we executed on it” by naming Schadle as the permanent CEO.
“Lauren has been with us a long time, and she has an amazing level of staff support—those people would run through a truck for her,” Auslander said, and while he admitted to being a “big fan” of Schadle, he insisted the board “took an objective approach” to making the decision, and that she would be treated as would any new CEO. Asked how well FPA’s 23,000 members know Schadle, Auslander said “she has a great reputation among members; Marv is the public face, but most of the emails that members see is from Lauren Schadle; they have had many discussions with her already.”
Further, noting Schadle’s 13 years of experience at FPA and her prior experience as an executive at the ICFP, one of the predecessor organizations of FPA, Auslander argued that “she understands financial planning about as well as any practitioner.”
In a separate interview on Monday, Schadle (left) noted that she had joined ICFP in 1996, and was with that predecessor organization when it merged with the IAFP in 2000, so her tenure with financial planners will be “16 years in September.” Asked what her priorities will be as CEO of the FPA, Schadle, 45, said that “without a doubt it will be serving our members and delivering superior member value.” She promised that in the group’s “next phase of development we’ll be fine-tuning our business activities” bringing a “disciplined focus—in synch with the board—and action plans to focus on becoming the professional resource and advocate for CFP professionals.”
She promised to “shore up our financial strength and live up to who we are…—rallying around the CFP certification.” Moreover, Schadle said “I have a disciplined business focus—the members who know me will likely agree with that” assessment.
Asked whether she would also focus on growing membership of FPA, which has been an ongoing concern of Tuttle and the FPA board for several years as its membership numbers fell from a high of 29,000 members to its current 23,000, Schadle said that “when membership is growing, people feel a sense of vitality,” but also said that it’s less important to have increased “membership numbers for the sake of membership numbers” alone, but rather to “bring on individuals aligned with the direction that the organization is going.”