The American Red Cross said it will transform its 60-year-old governance structure based on a six-month self-examination and review of its governance practices. Some changes can be done administratively, but others will require congressional approval to change the organizations charter. Those include: reducing the number of members on the Red Cross board of governors by more than half to between 12 and 20 by March 31, 2012, and delegating to management the responsibilities for day-to-day operations while the board focuses on governance and strategic oversight. Red Cross board of governors also directed management to improve and expand the organizations whistle-blower process for employees and volunteers.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a written statement that he was pleased with the proposal and hoped Congress would act quickly to pass the necessary statutory changes. Certain incidents have shaken public confidence in the Red Cross, and the Red Cross needs to go the extra mile with governance reforms to ensure public confidence, Grassley said. He said his scrutiny of the Red Cross dates to the months following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks when questions were raised about how the organization was using donations made to assist with recovery efforts. The Red Cross said it will post the board of governors full report on its Web site Nov. 2. -- by Cinda Becker