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Goodwill of Southern Nevada hires new CEO

Updated June 19, 2019 - 6:40 pm

Two months after it emerged for bankruptcy, Goodwill of Southern Nevada has hired a former top school district official and retired Air Force colonel as its CEO.

The nonprofit thrift-store chain and career-services organization announced Rick Neal took charge Monday as its new chief executive.

“Rick is exactly the leader the organization needs to lead it into the next era,” Goodwill’s outgoing CEO John Helderman said in the news release, adding Neal “brings many years of executive oversight directing major initiatives with complex priorities.”

Neal most recently worked for the Clark County School District, where he was chief operating officer and chief of staff and external relations. Before that, he spent 25 years in the U.S. Air Force, most recently as commander of the 799th Air Base Group at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Goodwill said.

“I am excited to take the helm of Goodwill of Southern Nevada and elevate our mission of helping job seekers find work to the next level,” Neal said in the release.

Neal joined CCSD four years ago and became chief operating officer in January 2017, according to his LinkedIn page.

He left the district after an outside report, requested by new Superintendent Jesus Jara, found deficiencies in the school system’s operations, including that it appeared to have a culture of “relying on out-of-date practices with no apparent sense of urgency” to move into the 21st century.

Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, which wrote the report, also said the school district is “badly underfunded,” exacerbating some of the highlighted problems.

Goodwill, formally known as Goodwill Industries of Southern Nevada Inc., filed for bankruptcy protection in August 2017 after an aggressive expansion and hefty bond sale, and after it fell behind on its rent at most stores.

It emerged from bankruptcy in April. Its reorganization plan called for some debt forgiveness and a new debt-payment structure, and cemented previously renegotiated retail leases, Helderman said at the time.

Former chief executive Steve Chartrand left Goodwill in May 2017 after about 20 years there. At the time, he declined to tell the Review-Journal why he left.

Helderman, who joined as interim chief the same month, initially expected to run Goodwill for only 90 days. He ended up staying two years.

He said in April that he planned to leave Goodwill to run his own casino-equipment business.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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