Five years ago, Kevin Keller became the CEO of the CFP Board, and at a unique and challenging time for the organization. The CFP Board had just announced its decision to relocate to Washington DC, which was likely to turn over most of the staff (at least, those who were left, as prior CEO Sarah Teslik had just slashed the headcount of the organization by nearly 40% in the preceding few years). Beyond staffing issues, the organization seemed to be in turmoil, with one leadership blunder after another, and Keller himself was entering as the 7th permanent or interim CEO to fill the role with the CFP Board in as many years.
Given that Keller was essentially an "outsider" at the time - experienced in leadership at another organization, but with no particular background or connection to the financial planning world - it was not clear how would he (re-)shape the CFP Board as he took over, with the rare opportunity, and danger, of re-staffing the entire organization from the ground up. Would it be the fresh start the CFP Board needed, or would the outsider unfamiliar with the challenges of the industry and the organization blunder?
Looking back over the past 5 years of the CFP Board, the conclusion seems clear now - although the CFP Board's central role in the financial planning profession continues to make its decisions controversial from time to time, the reality is that the organization under Keller's leadership appears to be entirely reinvented, and in a very positive direction. Although there are definitely some challenges that remain, this isn't your father's CFP Board anymore.