April 12, 2019
After two months on the job in the newly created role of vice president for communications at the International Mission Board (IMB), Roger Alford has left the position.
IMB President Paul Chitwood announced Alford’s departure in a March 29 staff email.
“Roger Alford has let me know that he feels that he’s not the right fit for the new communications role we were hoping to fashion and will not be serving with us. We will continue the process of evaluating that part of our work and seeking to create an organizational strategy to ensure we are able to tell the amazing stories of hope being shared with the world,” said Chitwood, according to IMB public relations manager Julie McGowan.
Alford was the first to serve in the newly created role of vice president for communications, a position “designed to build and maintain an optimum communications approach, operation and staff to best serve the needs of IMB and the Southern Baptist Convention,” according to a Feb. 12 IMB news release.
Alford, a career journalist, previously served five years as the communications director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention and editor of Kentucky Today, an online newspaper he created for the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
Alford’s move to the IMB was thought to signal a renewed focus on the organization’s communications team, which was drastically reduced in 2016 under former IMB president David Platt. The IMB’s Richmond Communications Center closed April 29, 2016, resulting in the termination of 30 U.S.-based IMB staff members. Ten communications staff members transitioned to other positions after the closure.
A Jan. 14, 2016, IMB news release said those personnel cuts came after a process of “reevaluating systems and structures across the IMB not only because of IMB’s financial realities, but also to be the best possible stewards of resources that churches have entrusted to IMB to get the Gospel to the nations.”
The communications team was the only department eliminated during what the IMB called an “organizational reset.” (TAB)
EDITOR’S NOTE–Corrected April 12, 11:15 a.m. to note Chitwood’s announcement came in a “staff email” not a “staff meeting” (2nd paragraph).