AID Atlanta CEO out just 8 months after taking job

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After just eight months at the helm, AID Atlanta is losing its CEO again and looking internally for its temporary new leader – the fourth one in three years.

The change in leadership of AID Atlanta, one of the largest HIV agencies in the South, also comes just months after announcing it is “joining forces” with AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a controversial global player in HIV care based in Los Angeles. 

The departure of former healthcare James Hughey, appointed as interim CEO in February, was announced on Thursday. AID Atlanta's board tapped Nicole Roebuck, a 15-year veteran of the agency, as its acting executive director.

The Board of Directors of AID Atlanta announces that James Hughey, CEO, will turn the reins of organization over to Nicole Roebuck.  Hughey led the organization through a financially difficult era in 2015, turning it around to become a more stable entity financially and operationally.  He, organizational leadership and staff and the Board of Directors, helped shepherd the organization through an affiliation with the AHF Federation, a consortium of AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs) and community groups committed to HIV/AIDS education, prevention, advocacy, medical treatment and support for underserved populations across the United States. The recent affiliation of the two organizations has expanded the resources for HIV-positive patients in Metro Atlanta, including the ability to provide more testing and to get more people into care.

The change continues a revolving door at the top of the agency that started in June 2012 with the exit of Tracy Elliott, who served as executive director for more than five years. In November 2012, AID Atlanta appointed longtime LGBT activist and former elected official Cathy Woolard as interim executive director after it went months without a CEO. In January 2014, the agency hired Jose Diaz as its CEO, a position he held until abruptly resigning in February. 

Diaz departed as financial struggles mounted for AID Atlanta as it navigated a shift in focus and work. He later said he resigned as part of a cancer diagnosis.

AID Atlanta said Hughey will remain at the agency until the end of the year, though it did not specify in what capacity. Hughey declined to comment.

We've reached out to a spokesperson for the agency and will update the post if they respond.

UPDATE | Chip Newton, chair of AID Atlanta's Advisory Board, told Project Q that Hughey helped return the agency to “financial and operational stability.” He added that despite the turnover in leaders since 2012, Hughey helped position AID Atlanta to expand the number of people in its care.

“The organization has been focused on financial and operational stability since the last CEO departed. We have now achieved this stability and turn around through James’ leadership,” Newton said.

He added that Roebuck, formerly the agency's client services director, will help expand AID Atlanta's testing, advocacy, medical and pharmaceutical services to people with HIV.

“Based on our current trajectory, we expect to nearly double the number of people in our care within 12 months,” Newton said.

Newton also said that Hughey resigned but will remain with AID Atlanta through December with he and Roebuck sharing leadership responsibilities.

“He resigned as a formality, however we expected a transition period once the organization became financially and operationally stable,” Newton said.

The organization will also launch a search for a permanent CEO, he said. The agency would not release details of Roebuck's compensation as interim executive director.

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