WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Feb. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) today announced that John Walter, who has served as president and chief executive officer of the organization since 2008, has stepped down. Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., has been named interim president and CEO while the board of directors considers a permanent replacement. Dr. DeGennaro has been serving as LLS executive vice president and chief mission officer. Walter will consult with LLS during the transition process.
LLS Board of Directors Chairman Timothy S. Durst noted, "John Walter has tirelessly dedicated himself to this organization and to the mission of curing blood cancers. His passion has inspired us all. As a result of John's leadership, LLS is poised to seize the opportunities to benefit blood cancer patients that are presented by this incredibly exciting time in the science. To date, LLS has invested almost $1 billion in research to advance therapies and save lives. Last year alone, LLS invested more than $125 million in research to advance therapies and in co-pay assistance to help patients get life-saving treatments. The LLS board of directors is grateful to John for his commitment and dedication to our important cause."
Under Walter's leadership, LLS has expanded its commitment to finding cures for blood cancers and improving the quality of life of patients and their families. He joined LLS in 1995 as a senior vice president, later becoming chief operating officer. In his nearly 20 years of service, Mr. Walter helped guide the expansion of LLS's venture philanthropy approach to accelerate new and better treatments for blood cancers. He designed and implemented LLS's co-pay assistance program, which to date has provided more than $160 million to help cover insurance premiums and drug co-pays to people with blood cancers. He also oversaw the launch of a branding platform to raise awareness about how LLS is helping to save the lives of patients with blood cancers.
"Working with LLS to better the lives of patients with blood cancers has been the focus of my professional life for almost two decades," said Walter. "Together we have made much progress, and it has been an honor for me to serve in the leadership role of such a great organization. I am confident that LLS will continue to make extraordinary advances in the fight against blood cancers."
DeGennaro has served in his current role since 2009 and has been a critical part of the LLS management team since he joined LLS in 2005. He has more than 25 years of research and executive management experience. As a member of the executive leadership team, DeGennaro has helped steward LLS operations. As chief mission officer, he has been responsible for leadership of LLS's mission functions of research, patient access, public policy and advocacy, and education. He is recognized as a key architect of the LLS Therapy Acceleration Program ® and LLS's cures and access agenda to help save the lives of blood cancer patients.
Committed to ensuring that the organization is well positioned for the future with a best-in-class leadership team, the LLS board of directors has selected Russell Reynolds Associates to lead a national search for the next CEO.
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care.
Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.
Contact: Andrea Greif
Tel: (914) 821-8958
Cell: (914) 772-3027
SOURCE The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society