After more than a quarter-century of service, United Way of Miami-Dade president and CEO Harve A. Mogul announced on Wednesday that he will step down from his current post but will continue to serve the organization until a successor is named.
Mogul’s decision was a year in the making.
“You have a responsibility as a professional to seeing about the long-term flourishing of the organization you are working with. I always had that in mind,” said Mogul. “I see other people who are approaching retirement and they hang on ... beyond the sweet spot. I didn’t want that to happen. We are an efficient organization with a great staff and wonderful volunteers. I care about all of that continuing.”
Mogul, 73, will transition to a new leadership role as president emeritus, in which he will focus on building United Way’s endowment, manage donor relationships and consult on other strategic issues, said United Way Board Chair Miguel Farra.
“Harve approached a few of us on the board more than a year ago to begin a transition plan for a new CEO. After nearly 26 years in the post and with the organization in a strong and stable position, he felt the time was right,” Farra said.
“Harve and the entire board are committed to a thoughtful and seamless transition that will result in us securing the very best next leader for this United Way — someone who can build on Harve’s extraordinary leadership and legacy and continue to move the organization forward in its mission of building community.”
United Way executive committee member Alexandra Villoch, Miami Herald Media Company president and publisher, called Mogul “a force for positive change in our community.”
“He has been so thoughtful about this transition to a level of detail that ensures the continued success in serving those most needy in Miami-Dade County,” said Villoch, who is also co-chair of the annual campaign.
The organization’s board will name a firm to spearhead the national replacement search, hopefully within a month, with the goal of naming the new CEO by the end of 2017. The process will be headed by board member Sheldon Anderson.
“We are looking for a strong community leader who has a phenomenal track record of success, an understanding of the functions of an organization like the United Way and its far reaching implications for the community,” said Anderson. “We want someone who understands a large, diverse community like Miami, like South Florida — and a strong administrator.”
Mogul launched his United Way career more than four decades ago in his hometown of Baltimore, after serving in the Peace Corps and as a fifth-grade teacher. He held positions with United Way in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Winston-Salem, North Carolina, before assuming the role of president and CEO in Miami-Dade in 1991. He never looked back.
“Miami is one of the smartest decisions I ever made. I love its promise most of all,” he said. “I grew up in a town that had good roots and a nice past but if you looked forward, didn’t have the promise of Miami. It’s an exhilarating place to live. I love the cranes and the new restaurants. I love going to grocery stores and hearing lots of languages.”
If Miami offered promise, the United Way offered a new challenge.
“There were a whole bunch of people who were working really hard. My leadership style was trying to be a good listener and trying to empower people who needed to be empowered,’” he said. “One of the first things was to make our board and key leadership more representative of the community.’’
Under Mogul’s leadership, the organization sharpened its community focus on education, financial stability and health — and has been celebrated nationally. During his tenure, total annual revenues have grown from $21.5 million to $56 million; total assets, from $5 million to $51 million.
“I can’t think of anybody that’s done what Harve has been able to accomplish in this community,” Tony Argiz, a former chairman of the United Way, told the Herald last year.
Among Mogul’s signatures is the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education. Founded in 2007, the center aims to improve the development of young children and apply best practices gleaned from the latest educational research. In 2009, the group introduced a financial stability initiative and earlier this year launched a project dedicated to helping veterans and their families transition to civilian life.
As the United Way searches for a successor, Mogul will remain on board full time.
“I will be filling my days with United Way work,” he said “I can’t imagine changing. I like what I am doing. I am very engaged with the community.”