Best Friends Animal Society CEO Paul Berry, will leave the helm of the organization under mutual agreement between he and the Board of Directors. Berry had been involved with Best Friends since 2003, and had served as CEO of the non-profit organization since 2006.

    “We’ve engaged in an organizational review over the past several years,” explained one Best Friends founder Greg Castle, of Berry’s departure. “We’ve been working on restructuring the board as well.”

    Castle went on to explain the board has specifically looked at Berry’s role, as well as those of the seven senior directors. During the process, Berry had expressed thoughts about his future plans. “The whole thing just kind of evolved from there,” said Castle. “It was a Board of Director’s decision with Paul.”

    Other changes will occur January 24, when a new transitional board of 14 members will be seated. Castle said that the move will be to eventually seat a more conventional outside board of directors.   

    Castle stressed despite rumors in the community, there were no plans for any further employee lay-offs at Best Friends in the immediate future. “We obviously had to do some belt tightening like everyone else,” said Castle. “But overall, we’re happy with what we’ve accomplished.” He cited national outreach and programs such as the anti puppy mill campaigns.

    Castle stated that Best Friends had experienced a record month of donations and new memberships, despite the slow economy. He did note

that while the society exceeded the previous year’s donations, it did fall short on 2008 projections.  

    Best Friends will immediately begin a national search for a new executive director. In the interim, an executive team, in conjunction with the board of directors, will oversee day-to-day operations. 

    “Best Friends is changing,” said Castle, “but our hearts and minds are focused on the animals.”