CGI appoints chief executive officer

By Mac Overton

TYLER, Texas--The Church of God International's board of directors has appointed longtime church administrator Charles Groce of Tyler as executive vice president and chief executive officer (CEO). The church's executive committee made the appointment at the board's Sept. 17 meeting in Fayetteville, Ark., The Journal has learned.

According to an article by Darren Cary in the January edition of The International News, a newspaper for CGI members and other supporters, the board created the executive committee in 1995 to serve in lieu of a CEO and to "handle the day-to-day decisions implicit in the operation of the home office."

That committee, reported Mr. Cary, was "dissolved" with Mr. Groce's recent appointment to the new post.

The International News quoted elder James Throgmorton of Pocahontas, Ark., explaining that the church corporation needs "one head" so it can "do business like other corporations do in the world."

Mr. Throgmorton said former board member Skip Martin, also of Pocahontas, had initiated the move to appoint a corporate CEO.

"A lot of us have talked about that over the years: to have one person where the buck stops here," Mr. Throgmorton said.

As CEO and executive vice president, Mr. Groce works under the direction of the board. Even though Mr. Groce is a vice president, the church has no president, Mr. Throgmorton explained to The Journal.

The board followed the recommendation of the three-man executive committee to dissolve itself.

Mr. Throgmorton said dissolving the committee was a unanimous decision by committee members Vance Stinson, Benny Sharp and Mr. Groce.

Mr. Stinson said he and Mr. Sharp were at lunch together one day "and we both agreed that, since ideally corporations should have a CEO, it was time to dissolve the executive committee and appoint one."

They later talked about the matter with Mr. Groce, who agreed with them. Mr. Throgmorton said Mr. Groce did not participate in the decision to appoint himself executive vice president.

"He was very reluctant and really didn't want to accept the position," Mr. Throgmorton said. "He did not seek the position. It's just that all the board members, every one of us, acting on recommendation from the committee, felt [that appointing a CEO] is what needed to be done."

Mr. Stinson said the CEO is "absolutely not" empowered to alter church doctrine.

"That requires input from all the ministry, and the voice of the brethren will not be ignored, either, should something like that come up," Mr. Stinson said.

Mr. Stinson said the church had not named a CEO since 1995 because of events in the church that resulted in the founder of the church, Garner Ted Armstrong, no longer being a member or employee of the church. Mr. Armstrong has not been a part of the CGI since 1997.

Mr. Stinson said he is comfortable with the church's having a CEO because Mr. Groce is "well known for soliciting input from his peers."

The church's board of directors consists of Mr. Throgmorton, Mr. Groce, Mr. Sharp and Bronson James, all of the Tyler area, and Carl Fritts of Fayetteville, Ark., the CGI's oldest elder.

Mr. Groce told The Journal he sees no major change in church administration, other than the new title.

"It [the administrative change] is not relevant," he said.

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