Just nine months after taking the helm of USA Gymnastics, president and CEO Kerry Perry has resigned — marking the latest high-profile departure from the beleaguered organization.
“On behalf of the Board of USA Gymnastics, I want to thank Kerry for her leadership under very difficult circumstances,” USAG board chairwoman Karen Golz said in a statement Tuesday.
Perry was widely criticized for what many considered to be inadequate action and boilerplate soundbites following the Larry Nassar scandal.
Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics national team doctor, is in prison after hundreds of women and girls said he sexually abused them under the guise of medical treatment.
Attorney John Manly, who represents 180 gymnasts, said Perry failed to overhaul USAG.
“Despite promises to the contrary, Ms. Perry continued the same flawed policies that led to the Nassar scandal, placing the reputation of coaches and staff above the safety of athletes and denying all legal responsibilities for the two-decade-long cover-up of Nassar’s crimes,” Manly said in a statement.
Perry’s resignation is just the latest USAG fallout after the Nassar scandal. While USA Gymnastics vowed to change its culture, much of its newly appointed leadership has already crumbled.
Last week, after only three days on the job, elite development coordinator Mary Lee Tracy was asked to resign after she had “inappropriately contacted a [Nassar] survivor, who is also a represented plaintiff, in response to that survivor’s public criticism of her,” USAG said.
“We strongly believe in a culture that encourages our athletes and survivors to speak up and make their voices heard,” USAG tweeted.
In May, USAG said the head of its women’s program, Rhonda Faehn, was no longer with the organization. Then-CEO Perry would not say whether Faehn was fired or resigned, calling Faehn’s departure a “personnel matter that we will not discuss in detail.”
And in February, famed Olympian and coach Valeri Liukin resigned as the coordinator for the women’s national team.
Liukin succeeded Martha Karolyi — who’s named in a lawsuit involving Nassar — in 2016, before many of the allegations against Nassar came to light. Liukin, who is not named in the lawsuit, resigned as USAG faced intense pressure to reform.
Golz, the USAG board chair, acknowledged that the past few years have been “very difficult for everyone involved with USA Gymnastics.” But she promised better days ahead.
In a letter to USAG’s 200,000 members, Golz said, “I want to assure you that this board is determined to take the necessary steps to support a safe and competitive environment where every athlete can grow, learn life lessons, have fun and succeed.”
The USAG board said it’s working to name an interim CEO and is creating a search committee to find a permanent replacement.