Just days after making it through a duo of pivotal stakeholder meetings that put her besieged leadership under a spotlight, Tina Tchen on Thursday quit as the president and CEO of Time’s Up.
“Now is the time for Time’s Up to evolve and move forward as there is so much more work to do for women,” said Tchen, a former chief of staff to Michelle Obama, in a statement on social media. “It is clear that I am not the leader who can accomplish that in this moment.”
Her resignation brings to an end her nearly two years overseeing the Hollywood-heavy organization. Time’s Up COO Monifa Bandele has been appointed interim CEO.
Read the full tweet below:
I am grateful for Times Up, and the time I’ve had. pic.twitter.com/sRlUZfXnYZ
— Tina Tchen (@TinaTchen) August 26, 2021
On August 22, Deadline reported that a number of members of Time’s Up’s leadership believed Tchen needed to exit or at least step back during an independent probe after the gender equity group was hit by a series of systemic scandals. Still, the next day, following those virtual meetings with Time’s Up global leadership and founding signatories, Tchen insisted to Deadline “it’s not my intention to resign as President and CEO of Time’s Up.”
That was Monday.
Later that same day, Andrew Cuomo finally stepped down as governor of New York due to the aftermath of a sexual harassment scandal. A scandal that former Time’s Up board chair Roberta Kaplan and Tchen had become embroiled in. Kaplan left Time’s Up on August 9, and Cuomo announced August 10 he would resign.
As a New York Times piece detailed late last week, Kaplan was more involved than previously known with the efforts of Cuomo’s team to fight back against the allegations of initial harassment accuser and former aide to the Governor, Lindsey Boylan. Eventually, Cuomo was accused of harassing at least 11 women, as laid out in a scathing report from New York state Attorney General Letitia James. Tchen was also stained by the Cuomo affair, with internal text leaks painting a portrait of a CEO who wanted a group centered around the fight against sexual harassment to sit on the sidelines against the princeling Democrat.
Tchen and Kaplan co-founded the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund
In the intervening days after this week’s Time’s Up meetings, more voices that remained silent during the high-level calls began speaking out. As Deadline exclusively reported over the weekend, those individuals and others reiterated that Tchen’s lack of transparency and the group’s “mission creep” was “untenable,” despite promises by teh CEO to do better.
Now it is Thursday, and policy analyst and communications vet Bandele is in the Time’s Up top job, for the next little while.
Lead by interim chair and Tinseltown super lawyer Nina Shaw, the Time’s Up board today praised Tchen on her way out and Bandele on her way in:
Tina Tchen has dedicated her life to making workplaces fair and equitable for workers and safer for women. That is why we asked her to lead Time’s up in the first place and she has accomplished enormous changes in the two years she has been our President. From ensuring the Silence Breakers and Harvey Weinstein survivors felt supported, to developing a program to center voices of women of color survivors, to calling out sexism in politics, to ensuring large corporations had guidance to do the right thing and were held accountable when their workplaces were not safe and equitable, to forcing the Golden Globes to address their toxic effect on the workplace in entertainment, Tina has made a difference in the lives of so many. Accepting her resignation today is the right thing to do to move the organization forward and we are grateful for her hard work and impact and this demonstration of accountability.
Monifa Bandele has been appointed interim CEO and we are confident that her experience and commitment will lead TU through the process we have already committed to in order to further our mission, rebuild the organization and honor and respect the experiences of survivors and the broader community of women at work whom we serve. Monifa’s history of leading operations, culture change, and policy campaigns is exactly the strategic experience TU needs now. Her perspective and integrity as TU has confronted the issues before us has been invaluable. She has the full support of the Board and staff and we are grateful to her for stepping into this new role.
As the Board has shared, we are commissioning an independent investigation into how we work and we can best accomplish our mission. That work is already underway. We remain committed to the work Time’s Up was founded to pursue: safe, equitable and dignified work for all women
Time’s Up was founded in late 2017 out of the accusations leveled at now convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein and the rise of the #MeToo movement. Tchen became Time’s Up CEO and president in October 2019 after the resignation of Lisa Borders.
Borders’ reign lasted just four months after sexual assault allegations were made against her son.
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