Beazley Out As OC Fair CEO (AMENDED**)
Following rumors swirling around Costa Mesa yesterday afternoon, this morning Robin Wachner in the Orange County Fair and Event Center Communications Department issued a press release announcing the pending departure of Dr. Steve Beazley from his position as Chief Executive Officer.
CONTROVERSIAL PERIOD AS CEO
Beazley is a long-term employee who rose to the top slot four years ago following the departure of Becky Bailey-Findley. He was the lightning rod for much controversy during the tumultuous time when the Fairgrounds was in play. At one point he was so concerned for his personal safety that the Fair Board authorized a security system to be installed at his home.
NO WORD FROM DR. STEVE
Calls to Beazley last night and this morning have gone unanswered and Wachner referred me to him this morning to get his story. I'll report more when I know more.
**THE STRAIGHT SCOOP
Steve Beazley just returned my calls to give me an update on his decision to depart. He told me that this is his decision - that he received no pressure from the Fair Board - and that, after 38 years with the Fair, it just seemed like the right time in his life to move on. He's told me that he never thought his job as CEO of the Fairgrounds would be his final job and that he's really looking forward to the new adventures that face him ahead. He told me he has nothing in the hopper at this time... Yikes!
Beazley, always enthusiastic, told me, "I feel such a sense of rightness" about his decision. He feels he will be leaving the Orange County Fair and Event Center in very good condition, with a solid staff and good leadership from the Board. He hopes to participate in the process of replacing himself, but will leave that part of the transition up to the Fair Board. He told me he has spoken with the Fair Board leadership and will likely address the entire board at its meeting on January 26th.
A LEAP OF FAITH
Many of us have made this kind of decision in our lives. Beazley makes his as he approaches his 50th birthday - I made mine much earlier when I walked away from the best job I ever had to start a consulting practice. It's very much like jumping out of an airplane and wondering if the parachute will open when you pull the rip cord. I wish Dr. Steve Beazley well, and hope the transition goes smoothly for him and for the Fairgrounds.
Here is the text of Wachner's press release:
Costa Mesa, Calif. (January 17, 2012) –OC Fair & Event Center President and CEO Dr. Steven Beazley has informed the Board of Directors of his intention to transition out of the position in 2012.
“It is time to reinvent myself. My intention is to retire from State service to pursue new creative opportunities including writing a book,” said Beazley.
Beazley, 49 expressed his desire to begin working with the Board on creating a CEO transition plan. A transition date has not been set.
“It is of the utmost importance to me to ensure that the CEO transition is a smooth one, maintaining the continuity of the organization,” Beazley said.
“While we are saddened by the news of Steve’s transition, we are happy for him and looking forward to selecting our next CEO,” said Board Chair Joyce Tucker.
Beazley stated in a letter to the Board that his 37 years in the organization, with 14 years as an executive including nearly 4 years as the President and CEO, have been a true joy. He quoted former Beatle George Harrison’s album title as a universal truth: “All Things Must Pass.”