The longtime chief executive of the Federation of State Medical Boards was ousted without warning last month during a secret meeting of the group's 13-member board of directors.
James Winn, M.D., the organization's top executive for nearly 12 years, said he wasn't even told that the board had scheduled a meeting to engineer his dismissal. Board members still have not explained their reasons, he said.
"The board didn't offer me any explanations; they haven't told me anything" said Winn, a 58-year-old family practitioner. "All I was told was the fact that they decided they felt the federation needed new leadership."
The federation made no public announcement of Winn's dismissal and wouldn't provide basic information about his long tenure as chief executive. Winn, who said he believes he helped build the Euless, Texas-based federation into a well-respected national medical organization, was removed through a clause in his contract that allows the board to terminate his employment with a 180-day notice.
Dale Austin, the federation's interim chief, declined to comment on Winn's ouster, saying only that the 13-member board felt the organization needed to move in a "new direction." He will serve until a search committee chooses Winn's successor.
Top officials on the board also declined to comment on the dismissal of Winn, whose name has become almost synonymous with the federation, an umbrella organization that represents 69 medical and osteopathic boards in the U.S. and its territories.
"The board concluded that we desired to move in a new direction," said incoming board President George Van Komen, M.D. "I think we need to give Dr. Winn a lot of credit for his outstanding service. We will always feel a great debt for the service he has rendered."