Bible Society ends contract with president: Chief financial officer on leave

July 15, 2008

The president of the American Bible Society has been removed from his job just weeks after news reports that an Internet contractor who had received millions from the society had past ties to the pornography industry.

The chair of the trustee board for the New York–based society announced June 6 that the annual contract of ABS president Paul Irwin would not be renewed.

ABS spokesperson Erin Mitchell said that the decision was “completely unrelated” to a May 18 New York Times report about Richard J. Gordon, the society’s former Internet contractor.

“It was not a reflection of any wrongdoing,” Mitchell said. “It was simply a matter of looking after the best interests of the Bible Society and the donors and moving forward.” The society has “ended absolutely” its relationship with the contractor, Mitchell said.

Irwin is a United Methodist minister who worked as an executive of the Humane Society of the United States before taking the ABS post in 2006.

Richard Stewart, the Bible Society’s chief financial officer, remains on leave at the trustees’ request. The board has committed to an independent financial review of the organization. The society’s executive vice presidents were given interim responsibility for daily operations. –Religion News Service