The board of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has named Kitty Block as acting president and CEO following the resignation on February 2 of Wayne Pacelle, who served as chief executive of HSUS since 2004.  Pacelle resigned following an internal investigation into allegations of workplace sexual harassment.

Before being named acting president of HSUS, Block was president of Humane Society International, HSUS’s global affiliate.  Block has served at HSUS since 1992, first as a legal investigator to the investigations department, then overseeing policy work related to international trade and treaties.  In 2007, she was promoted to vice president of Humane Society International, later to senior vice president, and, in 2017, became president of the Humane Society International, overseeing all HSI international campaigns and programs.

Block received a law degree from The George Washington University in 1990 and a bachelor’s degree in communications and philosophy from the University of New Hampshire in 1986.

In December, HSUS commissioned a law firm in Washington to conduct an internal investigation into the sexual harassment allegations against Pacelle.  However, Pacelle had managed to hold onto support from a majority of the HSUS board. Eric L. Bernthal, HSUS board chairman, said on February 2, “that the investigation into Mr. Pacelle’s behavior was not finished when details of it were leaked to the media, which lead the board to end the inquiry.”

However, many of the HSUS employees, as well as donors, were distancing themselves from Pacelle, condemning the board’s decision and calling for Pacelle to leave the organization.  Pacelle submitted his resignation on February 2, only hours after the board announced that he would remain despite the accusations against him.

In a video posted on the HSUS website, Kitty Block promised that HSUS would have a safe workplace and urged supporters and donors to maintain their faith in the organization.

Additionally, HSUS announced the resignation of board member Erika Brunson, who had defended Pacelle in remarks to the press.

According to the latest nonprofit filings, HSUS had more than $210 million in net assets at the end of 2016.  Records put Pacelle’s base salary at more than $330,000 in 2016, according to The New York Times.