Just days after Michael Johnson took a leave of absence from his role of CEO of United Way of Greater Cincinnati after alleging he was facing a "hostile work environment," UWGC has announced he is stepping down from the job.
A statement from UWGC said Johnson and the board of directors “have agreed to amicably part ways” and said Johnson was not asked to resign. It complimented his 100 first days on the job, saying he “connected with over 10,000 people in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, and established or strengthened connections to critical constituencies.”
Johnson, the former CEO of Boys and Girls Club of Dane County and influential Madison community leader, announced in May that he was leaving Madison to take the job at United Way in Cincinnati. He began working at United Way in July.
But Johnson sent an email to the UWGC board of directors last week with complaints of a “hostile work environment,” and as of Monday was on leave at his own request. The allegations and email made Cincinnati news.
"I have worked with 10 board presidents in three different states, receiving outstanding reviews. I've been a successful nonprofit leader for more than 20 years," Johnson wrote. "I have never been micromanaged and disrespected the way I am being now. I have communicated my concerns in writing. I've tried to communicate my concerns to the others in a careful manner, but to no avail. I have no other choice but to raise this issue with the full board, as I have received subtle threats from the Board Chair."
“If I am staying, I need to be able to act as the President and CEO,” he wrote.
In the email, Johnson specifically called out board chair Julia Poston for making “subtle threats” that she could fire him, said she “blatantly disrespected and attacked my character” and interfered with his work. At one point, Johnson wrote, she “told me I was nothing more than an angry man and referred to me as a boxer in a ring.”
In the statement announcing Johnson’s departure, UWGC said “claims of discrimination don’t represent what United Way stands for and it will stand by its actions and those of Julia Poston, a volunteer with a longstanding track record for her work with United Way and the communities it serves.”
Johnson will step down on Nov. 15, 2018, according to UWGC’s statement, and will help transition interim CEO Ross Meyer into the role.