UJA-Fed NY Selects “Professional Outsider” as New CEO

UJANYEric Goldstein, a financial litigation lawyer and vice chair of the Federation, has been selected as the new CEO at UJA-Federation of New York. This according to a report in The Forward:

“According to his professional resume he has represented many high profile Wall Street clients, including JPMorgan Chase, which he defended from class action suits after the 2008 collapse of Bear Stearns. Goldstein represented junk bond billionaire Michael Milken who, in a plea deal, was convicted of securities fraud in 1990. Goldstein also defended Milken against numerous civil cases and a class action suit filed against him in connection with this case.”

UJA-Federation’s Board was originally scheduled to vote on Goldstein’s appointment earlier in the week. A snowstorm caused rescheduling of the meeting to this afternoon.

The appointment of Goldstein – a lay leader with no known professional work experience in the nonprofit world – as CEO of North America’s largest Jewish Federation, has already been described to eJP as a tsunami for communal professionals – particularly the up and coming working in the North American federation system. For decades younger professionals have moved to other communities all the while being groomed for more senior roles. Taken together with recent choices at other federations to hire “outside” CEO’s, many are concerned about their own career trajectories. Additionally other organizational professionals, particularly those in the overseas arena, express nervousness about a new cohort of leaders who, at best, have a different understanding of communal responsibility.

John Ruskay, the Federation’s current CEO, had previously announced his retirement effective June 30, 2014. A seamless transition is expected.