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"NAACP Board Selects Bruce S. Gordon Next President, CEO"

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gordon_brock_bond (40k image)The Board of Directors of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) today selected Bruce S. Gordon as its next president and chief executive officer.

Gordon, 59, previously served as president of retail markets at Verizon Communications, starting out as a management trainee in 1968 and rising through the ranks over the course of his 35 years with the company. Gordon helped transform the company from a traditional telephone business into one of the world's most diverse and largest communications enterprises. During his last year with Verizon, Gordon managed its largest business unit, which employed 34,000 people, served 33 million telephone and Internet customers, and recorded more than $25 billion in sales. He retired in 2003.

"We are overjoyed that the NAACP Board of Directors has taken an important step in making Bruce Gordon our next President/CEO," said NAACP Chairman Julian Bond. "He will bring the passion and commitment to justice that distinguished his corporate career, where he not only served as president of Verizon's retail markets, but also proved to be an effective advocate for diversity within the company and the industry. We are pleased to welcome Bruce and his wife, Tawana, to the NAACP family."

Saturday's vote by the Board is the first of two steps toward confirming Gordon as President. The Board Executive Committee is now authorized to enter into contract negotiations with Gordon before a final vote during the Board meeting at the NAACP national convention in July.

"I am both humbled and energized to serve the NAACP and its members," said Gordon. "Led by my father to NAACP meetings since I could walk, I know first-hand the critical role the NAACP plays in fighting for justice and equality. And as a direct beneficiary of the NAACP's efforts to create opportunities for young African-Americans, I am eager to give something back to this noble institution, its dedicated members and the diverse nation it serves."

Gordon has been a life-long advocate for racial equality. His father was a founder of the Camden, N.J. NAACP branch and he aggressively used his position in corporate America to bring about real change and advancement for African-Americans. Gordon, for example, established a mentoring and networking program at Verizon to foster the advancement of African-American executives within the company. He is also a member of the Executive Leadership Council, a non-profit with similar aims for corporate America overall.

"Thanks to the dedication of leaders like W.E.B. DuBois, Thurgood Marshall and Julian Bond, the NAACP has diminished some of the most overt threats to equality," continued Gordon. "Today, however, we face subtler and more complex threats to equality in education, employment and other areas that are harder to recognize and just as hard to overcome. My goal as president will be to build on the legacy of this organization, to help it continue adapting to this new reality, and to extend its reach and influence to more of our youth, to more people of color, and to more leaders in the academic, business and political worlds."

Gordon has been honored numerous times for his achievements and efforts to foster corporate diversity. Among the most notable recognitions, Fortune Magazine named him as one of the "50 Most Powerful Black Executives" in July 2002 and, in 1998, Black Enterprise magazine named him "Executive of the Year."

Gordon was chosen from among a diverse and seasoned group of candidates by the Presidential Search Committee. Formed in December 2004, the committee included: Bond; Roslyn Brock, Vice- Chair, NAACP Board; Rupert Richardson, member, NAACP Board; former Republican Congressman Jack Kemp; Hugh B. Price, former president, the National Urban League and senior advisor to Piper Rudnick LLP; Alice Huffman, member, NAACP Board; Philip Murphy, Managing Director, Investment Management Division, Goldman, Sachs & Co. and member, NAACP SCF Trustee Board; Coleman Peterson, President/CEO Hollis Enterprises, LLC and member, NAACP SCF Trustee Board; and Nicholas Wiggins, NAACP Youth Board Member. Gordon is the latest in a line of business executives to lead the NAACP.

For the last seven months, NAACP has been led by interim president and CEO Dennis Courtland Hayes, the Association's longtime general counsel.

The NAACP, with more than 2000 units (adult branches and college chapters), has led the effort for social justice for nearly 100 years and through programmatic initiatives remains visible with adult branches, youth councils and college chapters in the United States, Japan, South Korea and Germany.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its half-million adult and youth members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

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