After 35 Years, Michael Rowan Retiring as CEO of San Diego Goodwill Industries

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Michael Rowan of Goodwill Industries of San Diego County. Image via Goodwill

By Ken Stone

Michael S. Rowan is retiring after 35 years as CEO of Goodwill Industries of San Diego County, the nonprofit employer announced Wednesday.

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Goodwill Industries of San Diego County IRS Form 990 for 2016. (PDF)
His successor — a woman found by a national executive search firm — will be revealed at a news conference Tuesday at the job-providing group’s Midway Area headquarters, said a spokeswoman.

“It’s kind of hush-hush,” said Goodwill spokeswoman Darlene Cossio, adding: “The new CEO’s going to be there to … tell the media about the appointment and the vision for the organization into the future.”

Rowan, 73, made $327,704, including benefits, in 2016, according to the latest IRS records.

His retirement day is March 16, Goodwill said.

“During his tenure, he has grown the organization’s operational revenue from $1.6 million in 1984 to $57.3 million in 2017,” said a news release. “He is leaving behind a legacy of strong leadership built on trust, kindness and dedication.”

In 2016, revenues of $55.4 million were reported, and Goodwill paid 1,853 people a total of $35.1 million in wages and benefits, said its annual report.

IRS records said the local Goodwill, with more than 40 donor centers, took in $60 million in 2015, $49.1 million in 2014 and $46.3 million in 2013.

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Local Goodwill officials said Rowan put into effect the “clean and friendly” retail store model and “that model is still alive today.”

The organization said Rowan is beloved by his nearly 1,400 ambassadors, “most of whom he knows by name.”

The local chapter of Goodwill Industries uses the revenue generated from the sale of donated goods at its retail stores and after-market facilities to fund job training programs and employment services.

“GISD was created in 1930 to provide employment and training opportunities to people with disabilities and other barriers to employment,” the group said.

Asked whether the new CEO will make comparable pay to Rowan, Cossio told Times of San Diego: “That’s a really good question. I think you should come and ask.”

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