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Morris Animal Foundation CEO Patricia Olson Resigns; Executive Team to Report to Board Chair for Interim

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Heidi Jeter, 800.243.2345, ext. 404

Several major initiatives launched and funding increased by $5.1 million during Olson’s tenure

November 8, 2010

Denver—Morris Animal Foundation announced today that Patricia N. Olson, DVM, PhD, has resigned as president and CEO. Olson had planned to retire in 2012 but decided to leave earlier for personal reasons. Olson’s resignation is effective Friday, Nov. 12; however, she will provide guidance to the foundation during the transition.

Olson joined Morris Animal Foundation as its executive director in 2004. She was named president and CEO the following year. During her tenure, the nonprofit increased its funding of humane animal health and welfare research studies from $4.2 million in 2005 to an anticipated $9.3 million in fiscal year 2011, with a total commitment to research funding of more than $17 million over the next three years.

“Animals around the world are living longer, healthier lives because of Dr. Olson’s leadership and vision,” said Mark Carter, PhD, chair of Morris Animal Foundation’s Board of Trustees. “We have been fortunate to have someone with her expertise, commitment and passion for animals at the helm for the past six years. The Foundation’s trustees, scientific advisers and staff are all extremely grateful for Dr. Olson’s contributions.”

A national search will commence shortly to fill the position of CEO. In the interim, MAF’s executive team—John Taylor, chief operating officer; Paul Raybould, executive vice president; and Wayne Jensen, DVM, PhD, MBA, chief scientific officer—will report to Carter.

“It has truly been a pleasure to work with the Morris Animal Foundation team,” Olson said. “I am proud of all that we have accomplished together on behalf of animals, and I am confident that the foundation will continue to grow and to create a healthier tomorrow for animals.”

Over the past six years, Morris Animal Foundation has achieved many milestones, including the launch of the Canine Cancer Campaign, which established a nationwide tumor-tissue bank for researchers studying cancer and significantly increased funding for canine cancer research. Currently, the campaign is funding more than 25 research studies, including a $1 million project to look at genetic risk factors for cancer in golden retrievers. The foundation also launched the Happy Healthy Cat Campaign, which has funded studies that have significantly decreased disease transmission in shelter cats and has supported the development of a powerful new tool that will help scientists identify genetic predispositions to feline diseases. Another accomplishment was the establishment of the Health Study Policy for Animals Involved in Research, which has become a model for conducting humane animal health research.

In addition, the foundation initiated a groundbreaking, long-term effort to learn how to prevent cancer and other canine diseases. The project, which will be announced in spring 2011, will identify genetic, nutritional and environmental risk factors for cancer and other diseases that affect dogs and will be the largest and longest prospective study of dogs ever undertaken. 

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