CEO to step down of Livestrong group founded by cyclist Armstrong

Tue Sep 23, 2014 12:18pm EDT
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By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN Texas (Reuters) - The CEO of the Livestrong cancer foundation started by disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong announced his resignation on Tuesday after a tenure in which the organization went from a being global brand to losing millions after Armstrong's doping scandal.

Doug Ulman, who helped develop the foundation that aids cancer patients and helped steer it through the scandals brought about by revelations of Armstrong's doping, said he will join Ohio State University's Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"I am very proud and thankful for the progress we achieved together, advancing the fight against cancer and embracing a mission of service to survivors, their families and friends," Ulman said in a posting on the Livestrong foundation's website.

Ulman started a fund for young adults after overcoming chondrosarcoma, a cancer that attacks bones and cartilage, when he was a college student and joined Livestrong 14 years ago. He will stay with Livestrong until the end of the year and did not give an indication as to who would take over for him.

The Livestrong Foundation, which started an international trend about a decade ago with the yellow silicone bracelets bearing its name, has seen its net revenue fall by 63 percent from $52.5 million in 2005 to $19.5 million last year.

The group gained global recognition when Armstrong won the Tour de France seven straight times between 1999 and 2005. But Armstrong, whose battle against cancer made him a hero to millions, was stripped of his Tour de France victories and banned for life from racing in 2012 by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after it accused him in a report of engineering one of the most sophisticated doping schemes in sports.

He severed official ties to Livestrong in November 2012 and admitted to doping in a January 2013 television interview with celebrity host Oprah Winfrey.

Ulman has said in media interviews the foundation would survive the scandal and serve its purpose of helping cancer patients and survivors.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz)

Doug Ulman, CEO of the Lance Armstrong Foundation speaks during a discussion regarding initiatives to combat non-communicable diseases at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, September 21, 2011. REUTERS/Allison Joyce