Lauren Schadle, the associate executive director and COO of the Denver-based Financial Planning Association, will become the organziations executive director/CEO effective Oct. 3.
Marvin Tuttle, the current exec director/CEO, had planned to retire in 2014 but moved up his exit due to family concerns. Schadle, who has been with the FPA and a predecessor group, the Institute of Certified Financial Planners, since 1996, assumed her current post in 2006.
"Most recently, I've been instrumental in working with our strategic planning committee, and that work has culminated in putting action plans in place," Schadle said in an interview with Financial Planning. "We want to position FPA as the unique advocate and provider of resources to CFP professionals."
Schadle asserted that all associations, including the FPA, are seeing increased competition from both for-profit and not-for-profit entities. "While sticking to our main principles, we need to offer value that our members can see and will be willing to pay for," she said. Education, technology, practice management, and compliance are among the key areas she mentioned where FPA needs to provide high-quality member services, in addition to staying relevant to the next generation of younger financial planners.
"Lauren is the perfect combination of operational and strategic savvy; cultural understanding of both FPA and the financial planning community; and the long-standing respect of her staff, peers and professionals," current FPA president Paul Auslander said in a statement. "Our confidence in her abilities is extremely high and she brings tremendous passion, energy and vision to lead FPA into its next phase." Schadle has led FPA efforts in communications, marketing and membership.
Auslander, who is co-founder, chairman and CEO of American Financial Advisors in Orlando, expressed his extreme respect and admiration for Tuttle, yet said the FPA's national board had no reservations about moving Schadle up a slot on the organizational chart. "She's not as well-known as Marv," Auslander told Financial Planning, "but she was the FPA's chief operating officer. Anything an FPA member received, by email or hard copy mail, was sent by Lauren. She's very capable, and I'd be surprised if she did not set the world on fire as our CEO."
According to Auslander, Schadle's background in operations will be vital to the FPA. "Some operational issues need to be addressed," he said. "Lauren's unique skill set will help implement the board's ideas, such as a practice management initiative we're rolling out. Lauren understands that non-profit doesn't have to mean 'not successful.' She's the real deal."
While recognizing the continuity that Schadle will bring to the organization, Auslander also praised Tuttle's tenure. "Marv Tuttle's influence extends far beyond FPA and his importance in shaping the profession will be felt for decades to come," he said. "His legacy will be as a true collaborative leader, a steady hand who led many through tumultuous times and part of the foundation and soul of FPA. His unmatched insight and presence will be sorely missed by us and countless others, yet we fully respect and support the difficult decision he made."
In a statement, Tuttle said that he had intended to complete the two-year contract extension approved by the FPA board last November, but would not do so. "It had become increasingly obvious that I am not able to optimally provide focus and leadership to FPA at a very critical time in its history," he said. "I look forward to supporting Lauren's transition into the executive director position. She's a very capable and accomplished association executive who enjoys the respect of the FPA staff and financial planning community."
Tuttle, who began his career with the organization in 1983 when he joined the ICFP, one of two groups that merged to form the FPA in 2000, has held his current position since 2004. The FPA news release called Tuttle instrumental in the development of numerous programs there and a "leading voice in the ongoing development of the financial planning profession."