In the face of mounting criticism from current and former athletes, Kerry Perry has resigned as leader of USA Gymnastics, stepping down amid the continuing fallout from the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.
It was just nine months ago that Perry assumed the job, replacing the embattled Steve Penny.
Though vowing to help rebuild the national governing body, she struggled through a series of public missteps and was accused of focusing on the marketing portion of her job. The board of directors announced her departure early Tuesday.
“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,” board chairman Karen Golz said in a statement.
In addition to angering athletes, Perry had come under fire from the U.S. Olympic Committee, which had told several media outlets it would be contacting USA Gymnastics over the weekend.
The sport has been at the center of a situation in which hundreds of young athletes have come forward with accusations that Nassar — who worked in various capacities for USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic team and Michigan State — molested them under the guise of providing medical treatment.
The 55-year-old Nassar is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty to charges of sexual assault and possession of child pornography in Michigan.
The scandal has prompted a wave of lawsuits, with Michigan State announcing it will set aside $500 million to settle current and future claims. USA Gymnastics and the USOC are still facing litigation.
Perry’s most recent troubles involved the hiring of Mary Lee Tracy to oversee the women’s elite development program. The move drew immediate criticism because Tracy had publicly supported Nassar after his arrest in 2016 and had inappropriately contacted an abuse survivor.
USA Gymnastics parted ways with Tracy just days after she was hired.
Olympians such as Aly Raisman and Simone Biles had also been upset by Perry’s lack of communication since taking the job. Survivors complained they had not heard from her and, as chief executive, she waited six months before making her first public comments.
“USA Gymnastics is on a new path, with new leadership and a commitment to ensure this never happens again,” she said of the Nassar scandal during a congressional hearing that grew contentious at times.
The organization’s board said it will identify an interim chief executive and form a search committee for Perry’s replacement.
“The committee has been charged with finding a leader who can help the organization build on the progress to date and achieve the fundamental cultural changes necessary to move the sport forward,” the statement said.