Friday, March 21, 2008

Chabad seeks a new chief executive

By Leon Symons

The Lubavitch movement has started a search for a new chief executive and director of fundraising as it seeks to repair the rift caused by the departure of its former chief fundraiser, Rabbi Faivish Vogel.

A letter from the movement’s council of management and executive committee has been sent to the entire Lubavitch community, asking for suitable candidates to be put forward.

Rabbi Vogel resigned after allegations were made that Chabad’s £1.5 million debt crisis had been precipitated by the opening of the Gaon Club for young business professionals in London’s West End in January last year. The club was run by Rabbis Yosef and Mendy Vogel, Rabbi Vogel’s sons.

Both sides faced each other at the London Beth Din at the end of last year, when the brothers were banned from any outreach work for six months.

After Rabbi Vogel’s departure, Lubavitch called in Bolt and Partners, a specialist “turnaround” company, to run its affairs. Bolt appointed a non-Jewish interim chief executive and was asked to produce a three-year plan to ease the movement’s economic crisis.

The letter to members, a copy of which has been seen by the JC, hinted that Bolt was already having an effect, saying: “An enormous amount of work has been achieved over the past few months in regard to organisational, governance and fundraising structures of the Lubavitch head office. An important component is to ensure there is continuity of leadership for Lubavitch UK for the next generation.”

Rabbi Nachman Sudak, the senior outreach emissary of Lubavitch, said: “This is all about achieving much greater transparency for the organisation.

“Bolt’s work will be finished at the end of this month. They have introduced new operating systems that should be modern and practical. Now we are looking for a new chief executive who will run the organisation.”

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