A few weeks ago FamilySearch released the following announcement:
FamilySearch International announced today a change in its chief executive officer. Effective January 2, 2012, Dennis C. Brimhall will succeed Jay L. Verkler as CEO of FamilySearch. Mr. Verkler will continue in a consulting capacity for a few months to ensure a smooth transition.
Over the past decade under Mr. Verkler’s leadership, FamilySearch has shifted its vast stores of genealogical records and resources to a digital, worldwide, internet-based focus. FamilySearch has developed partnerships with many genealogy and technology industry organizations, helping form a broad and deep industry community including companies, societies, and archives.
“It has been a career highlight for me to work in such a significant and meaningful effort,” said Jay L. Verkler regarding his time at FamilySearch’s helm. “I have had the privilege to work with countless great individuals, organizations, and companies, all striving to provide the best of user experiences.”
Mr. Brimhall comes to FamilySearch with a deep background in management. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He recently served for 17 years as president and CEO of the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver from 1988 until 2005. Since then Mr. Brimhall has held positions of increasing responsibility in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“I am very excited to help lead the work of FamilySearch, to continue the great things that have been done and move forward in new directions as appropriate,” said Brimhall. “FamilySearch provides services to millions of people worldwide. We really need to understand our customers’ needs and satisfy them. Our focus will be to ensure that FamilySearch’s customer experiences are really first rate.”
FamilySearch looks forward to further strengthening its commitment to the global genealogical community, to publishing and digitizing the world’s records, and encouraging all people to discover, preserve, and share their family histories.
The direction of FamilySearch is likely to remain consistent, however this change marks the end of an era at FamilySearch. Jay is a singular individual who was invited into his role as managing director to forge a new direction for FamilySearch. Under his leadership a new collaborative pedigree was developed that will change the way family history collaboration is done. He was at the helm during a transition that has resulted in more than 400 million images being visible at FamilySearch.org and will result in 300-400 million additional images each year for the next decade.
Jay has been a force for industry change as well. He has forged partnerships between commercial organizations and non-profits. He has helped the industry to forge some best practices, and has challenged the entire industry to think better and aspire to greater heights. This good work will all continue with the new managing director, but his vision and leadership and focused passion will be missed by those at FamilySearch as well as the entire genealogical community.