JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Wounded Warrior Project Board of Directors announced Thursday it appointed Michael Linnington to the position of Chief Executive Officer, months after a News4Jax I-TEAM investigation into questionable and lavish spending at the Jacksonville-based charity.
LINK: I-TEAM's reports on WWP
Linnington's position is effective July 18.
He is joining WWP from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, where he was appointed Director by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter in 2015.
The WWP said Linnington has a decorated 35-year military career, including three tours in combat operations and key positions in numerous assignments around the world.
Linnington will oversee the organization’s day-to-day operations and set the strategic vision to guide the organization forward.
He will be based at WWP’s headquarters in Jacksonville and will report to the WWP Board of Directors.
Former Chief Executive Officer Steven Nardizzi and Chief Operating Officer Al Giordano were ousted in March after a six-week independent review of the charity's finances and culture.
The board said that the leadership changes were needed to "restore trust in the organization among all of the constituencies WWP serves."
The Chairman of WWP Board of Directors, Anthony Odierno, said Thursday that Linnington's military experience and leadership credentials make him the perfect candidate to lead WWP.
“Mike understands the unique needs of our nation’s veteran community, is a collaborative team-builder, and is deeply committed to fulfilling our mission of honoring and empowering Wounded Warriors," said Odierno. "I am excited for WWP’s path forward under his leadership.”
“When our wounded veterans return home from combat, they rely on WWP and the organization’s dedicated team to provide necessary physical and mental health services, as well as economic empowerment and engagement programs that make a meaningful impact on their lives, and the lives of their families and caregivers," said Linnington. "Being part of an organization committed to this important mission is a sacred duty and solemn responsibility."
Interim Chief Operating Officer Major General Charlie Fletcher agreed to remain with WWP during a transition period.
The WWP Board of Directors also announced Thursday it expects to add up to four additional members to the Board by the end of the year.
WWP’s Board worked closely with Korn Ferry, an executive search advisory firm, as part of the CEO search process.