In a puzzling about-face, a nonprofit library association that had announced the appointment of a new president just two weeks ago said this week that—never mind—the current president is sticking around.
The group is OCLC Online Computer Library Center, which released a statement Wednesday saying that its Board of Trustees had decided not to move ahead with the appointment of Jack B. Blount as president and chief executive. It didn’t say why, causing librarians to take to their blogs and Twitter feeds to try to figure out why the appointment, scheduled to take effect July 1, had been rescinded. It was also a topic of discussion between sessions at the American Library Association’s annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif.
The OCLC’s statement said that Jay Jordan, who has served as president since 1998, had agreed to postpone his retirement to continue as president.
“The board is committed to an orderly transition of leadership and will be assessing its succession-planning process as it moves forward,” the board’s chair, Larry P. Alford, said in a written statement.
OCLC is a membership organization that runs WorldCat, a catalog with records from more than 72,000 libraries in 171 countries.
Calls to OCLC administrators were all routed to the group’s spokesman, Bob Murphy, who said he could not comment beyond what was in the press release. Mr. Jordan also declined comment, and Mr. Blount did not respond to an interview request.
Mr. Blount has an extensive background in leading technology groups, serving most recently as president and chief executive of Alpha Bay Corporation, a global technologies and services provider.
In a statement released June 8, Mr. Alford praised his “extensive leadership and management experience, background and expertise in technology, global outlook and demonstrated commitment to and appreciation of libraries.”
Editors of Library Journal were also scratching their heads at the latest development.