Lauren Schadle, longtime FPA CEO Lauren Schadle, longtime FPA CEO.

After serving almost eight years as CEO and executive director and 12 years as chief operating officer and associate executive director, Lauren Schadle is leaving the Financial Planning Association effective immediately.

The FPA, which announced her departure, named Patrick Mahoney interim CEO while its board of directors conducts a search for the association’s next chief executive with the help of an outside executive search firm. Mahoney is a former chief marketing officer for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and president and CEO of IEEE GlobalSpec Inc.

FPA President Martin Seay, in a statement, thanked Schadle for her service, noting that she has been with the FPA since the beginning, when it was formed in 2000 from the merger of the Institute of Certified Financial Planners and the International Association for Financial Planning and has helped implement “many significant and beneficial initiatives during her tenure that have elevated FPA and the profession.” 

Seay said in an email that the FPA could not “get into the specifics of her departure,” adding that the association is looking forward to working with Mahoney in the near term while it searches for a permanent CEO.

Schadle could not be reached for comment.

Financial advisor and blogger Michael Kitces welcomed the news of Schadle’s departure as “long overdue.” Schadle, according to Kitces’ tweets, “was pleasant to work with” but “didn’t execute effectively … [and] ostracized anyone who disagreed w/FPA’s declining path.”

Under Schadle’s leadership, membership in the FPA has been declining, from 24,000 in 2018 to barely 21,000 recently, while other financial planning organizations have grown in size, according to Kitces. A “badly botched OneFPA Network rollout severely damaged” the organization, he wrote.

He was referring to the FPA’s effort to foster greater alignment among members, centralize functions and increase participatory governance, which initially involved merging all its 80-plus chapters into one organization. It eventually abandoned that idea, which attracted heavy criticism, allowing individual chapters to continue but with more coordination.

Kitces had previously criticized the FPA for appointing TD Ameritrade Institutional executive Skip Schweiss as president-elect for 2020, leading to the presidency next year. Schweiss is not a CFP and works for a corporate sponsor of the association.

“It’s incredibly important for the FPA to recover,” and it now has an “opportunity to reinvest [itself] with new leadership,” Kitces tweeted.

Among some of the most recent most initiatives of the FPA instituted under Schadle’s leadership were the creation of the FPA Volatility Resource Center to help FPA members and chapters cope with the recent turmoil stemming from the spread of COVID-19 and an FPA Connect app to connect members with each other on a variety of topics.

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