Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates president and CEO Bob Sullivan, the man in charge at Nathan Benderson Park, is leaving on “great terms,” the nonprofit’s board chairman said Thursday.
“Bob has been very considerate,” Bill Robinson said. “He is leaving on great terms.”
After less than a year at the helm of SANCA, the nonprofit that operates Nathan Benderson Park, Sullivan told the SANCA board of directors Wednesday that he was resigning.
“He has done so many good things,” Robinson said. “He came in and has gotten SANCA to where he feels he wanted it to be. I think he feels good with what he accomplished and he wants to move on from here.”
In a statement released Thursday morning, Sullivan said he came to the Sarasota area to retire and fell in love with Nathan Benderson Park.
“When the job opportunity came up at the park, I felt that it was a perfect match of my past experience and becoming involved with my new hometown,” Sullivan said. “There are very few times when the timing could not have been better and I am proud to be a part of this magnificent park. With the World Rowing Championships coming in September, followed by next year’s World Master’s Championship, I felt that now was the correct time to look to the future and ensure a smooth transition of leadership.”
Sullivan, who has offered to stay on through the end of the year, took over as the second president and CEO of SANCA last August. Sullivan, who succeeded Paul Blackketter who stepped down to pursue a career in consulting, was unanimously selected from more than 60 resumes that were submitted to SANCA.
“I feel that I have succeeded in taking the park to the next level and will stay on until the end of this year to ensure that there is a smooth transition,” Sullivan said. “At the end of the year, I plan on enjoying my retirement here in Sarasota and spending time with my family.”
With four months until the 2017 World Rowing Championships — arguably the largest event to be held at Nathan Benderson Park —Robinson said he doesn’t think this will affect the event.
“Not at all,” Robinson said.
Event organizers say Sullivan’s departure won’t affect the 2017 World Rowing Championships.
As SANCA looks to find Sullivan’s successor, Robinson said they will do a similar search as they did the last time. SANCA will use a search firm to conduct the national search, Robinson added.
“It gives us plenty of time for us to do a very, very good search,” Robinson said of Sullivan not leaving until the end of the year. “We have a good team in place and we have Bob in place and then as we find a new CEO, there will be some time spent with Bob taking over the reins and then we will move on.”
The world-class caliber of Nathan Benderson Park will not be affected with another change in leadership, Robinson said.
“That won’t be affected at all,” he said. “It’s the same team. There’s nothing changed.”