President and CEO of USA Gymnastics Kerry Perry officially resigned from her position on Sept. 4 as the organization attempts to recover from ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse.
Perry’s resignation was announced in a letter from the USA Gymnastics Board of Directors. She was hired in November 2017, after former president and CEO of USA Gymnastics, Steve Penny, resigned amid the fallout from Nassar.
A statement from the USA Gymnastics Board of Directors said Perry will resign immediately and the board already began identifying an interim CEO. They established a management committee to provide “organizational oversight to maintain continuity in the day-to-day operations until an interim CEO is named."
The board is also in the process of creating a search committee to find a permanent replacement for Perry’s position, the statement said.
“On behalf of the Board of USA Gymnastics, I want to thank Kerry for her leadership under very difficult circumstances,” Karen Golz, chair of the USA Gymnastics Board, said in the letter. “In the wake of horrific events that have impacted our athletes and the entire gymnastics community, USA Gymnastics has made progress in stabilizing itself and setting a new path to ensure that the safety and interests of our athletes remains at the heart of our mission.
“Over the past nine months, USA Gymnastics has been in the midst of a major transition as it implements recommendations made by Deborah Daniels in her report, following her independent review of the organization’s safe sport policies and procedures, as well as directives of the USOC."
Perry’s role at USA Gymnastics
Perry started as president and CEO of USA Gymnastics in December 2017, as the organization needed new leadership after Steve Penny's resignation. However, Aly Raisman and other gymnasts were critical to Perry’s position and the lack of help and change in the program moving forward.
Perry apologized to “all who were harmed” by Nassar’s “despicable crimes” in May and announced mediation between USA Gymnastics and the survivors of Nassar’s abuse who had sued the organization for its role in handling reports against him.
She also outlined several forms of action the organization had taken or was planning on taking as she testified before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
Perry also appeared before the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation for a hearing in July, in Washington D.C.
"Athlete safety must be at the forefront of everything we do every day," she said at the hearing.
Perry’s resignation comes two days after Sarah Hirshland, U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) chief executive, called for a leadership change.
Hirshland took the place of Scott Blackmun, who resigned in the wake of the Nassar scandal due to “health issues.”
Nassar survivors react
Morgan McCaul, survivor and University of Michigan sophomore, said in an email, she is happy to see Perry resign, but there is still more to be done.
“The removal of Kerry Perry from her post at USAG, upon pressure from the US Olympic Committee, is nothing more than an attempt by the USOC to put a bandaid over their egregious failure to protect our nation’s athletes,” McCaul said. “I’m happy to see Ms. Perry go, but the corrupt institutions she represented––those which protected pedophiles and abusers at the expense of innocent children––need to follow.
“I hope that USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee will face true accountability for their culture of complicity. It is tragic that the very organizations which are supposed to serve young athletes cannot be trusted. When the day comes that little boys and girls can pursue their Olympic dreams without facing incredible danger, my Sister Survivors will be entirely to thank. I stand with them.”
Survivor Rachael Denhollander said in a tweet, Perry could have investigated and admitted the "abusive culture and saying 'no' to coaches who were a part of it."
"(It) could have been healing for survivors, a model for others," she said. "Instead, everyone gets hurt."