Leadership and Leadership Transition and Charities and Goodwill Industries and Governance and Philanthropy

Local Goodwill boss McClelland set to retire in mid-2015

August 7, 2014

After four decades at the helm of Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana, CEO Jim McClelland plans to step down at the end of June.

He informed the not-for-profit agency’s board of his intentions Thursday.

Jim McClelland mugMcClelland

“This a good time for the organization,” McClelland, 70, told IBJ, citing Goodwill’s solid finances, strong staff and recent momentum—and the fact that he can’t do the job forever. “It’s evitable … and when you have a choice, it’s generally good for that [leadership transition] to happen when things are good.”

McClelland is just the third CEO to serve the local Goodwill affiliate since 1934.

When he took the job in 1974, the organization had 558 employees, eight retail stores and annual revenue of less than $3 million.

Today, it has 3,100-plus employees, 55 stores—including the new Vintage Vogue by GW—10 commercial-services sites and 10 charter high schools, with total revenue topping $130 million, according to a news release.

“He’s done an amazing job,” Goodwill board Chairman Gene Zink said in a prepared statement. McClelland “has been passionate about the mission of Goodwill, an outstanding leader, an outstanding entrepreneur, and a man with a truly good heart.”

(Check out a pair of 2010 IBJ video interviews with McClelland here.)

A committee led by former board Chairman Bud Melton will initiate a national search for his replacement, Goodwill said.

McClelland said his tenure at Goodwill has been a “constant growing and learning process,” but he’s particularly proud of the progress the organization has made in the past five years as it has broadened its service to the community.

“Our overall impact is far greater than it’s ever been,” he said.

Goodwill opened its Excel Center in 2010 to help adults earn their high school diplomas, for example, and the program proved so popular—with nine locations in central Indiana serving almost 3,000 students—that it is being replicated out of state under licensing agreements with operators.

McClelland also is proud of the agency’s work on the Nurse-Family Partnership, a national program for first-time, low-income moms introduced in Marion County three years ago. Goodwill has 31 registered nurses on staff working with more than 600 new and expectant mothers.

An industrial engineer by training, McClelland has built at culture at Goodwill that encourages the staff to “always look for ways to improve and increase our impact,” he said.  “It’s so rewarding to watch and see how it’s evolving” as a result.

He’s not sure yet what will happen after he leaves—“I’ve never done this before,” he said, laughing—but McClelland plans to stay in Indianapolis and remain active in the community.

He’ll figure out specifics when the time comes. In the meantime, McClelland still has plenty to keep him busy for the next 11 months or so.

“I intend to keep my foot on the gas and proceed full-speed ahead,” he said. “Anyone who thinks I’ll be a passive lame duck doesn’t know me very well.”

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