Torres Out at Kaitz3/11/2003 6:15 PM Eastern
Walter Kaitz Foundation president Art Torres resigned his position Tuesday as
part of a major restructuring and cost-saving move.
California Cable and Telecommunications Association president and Kaitz
founding director Spencer Kaitz will take over as president in an "unpaid" role,
reflecting the organization's desire to cut nearly 70 percent of its
approximately $1 million annual operating budget.
The foundation's San Francisco office will close at the end of the month and
move into the Oakland, Calif., offices of the CCTA.
The foundation will also cut three of its five employees -- including Torres
-- and will instead rely on the work of industry "volunteers," much like other
industry organizations, according to Kaitz.
The foundation will continue to run its annual fund-raising dinner, as well
as distributing financial grants to industry organizations promoting
"Given the continued consolidation in the cable industry, Art believed that
we should reduce the overhead costs of the foundation so that more dollars could
flow to our diversity organizations, which champion the very work [Kaitz] seeks
to promote," chairman Glenn Britt said in a prepared statement.
The charismatic Torres joined the foundation two years ago amid criticism
from industry observers that Kaitz was not doing enough to place qualified
minorities in upper-management cable positions.
Last year, the foundation switched from a placement outfit to appropriating
close to $700,000 in financial grants to organizations like the National
Association for Minorities in Communications, the Emma Bowen Foundation and the
Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing to further support
their respective diversity efforts.
But sources said Torres himself came under major scrutiny from industry
leaders for splitting his time between running the organization and maintaining
a leadership role within the California Democratic Party.
"By refocusing The Walter Kaitz Foundation as an institution whose primary
mission is to support the work of other cable-industry diversity organizations,
Art has accomplished a lot in a relatively short period of time," NCTA president
Robert Sachs said in a statement.
"The direction he has set for The Kaitz Foundation will serve industry
diversity efforts well," he added.