The Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee announced on Monday (Aug. 28) it is conducting an “internal review” into Willie McLaurin’s sudden departure from his role as interim president and CEO.
The news came 11 days after McLaurin resigned (Aug. 17) due to the discovery of “disqualifying information during their process of vetting and due diligence,” according to the EC’s presidential search committee. McLaurin had admitted to falsifying his resume, specifically listing three schools among his academic achievements — North Carolina Central University, Duke University Divinity School and Hood Theological Seminary — where he did not attend. Before the news broke, McLaurin had been considered to be the frontrunner in the EC’s search for a new president.
Jon Wilke, director of media relations for the EC, confirmed on Monday the EC is investigating a variety of questions that include the vetting process involving McLaurin’s hiring by the EC, his background (specifically related to military service) and how this latest development could impact ongoing litigation involving the EC.
Wilke noted in his statement the EC had begun “an internal review of these matters and anticipate the completion of this review in time for the September SBC Executive Committee meeting.” The EC’s upcoming meeting is scheduled for Sept. 18–19 in Nashville.
“Any findings will first be shared with the members of the EC and what findings can be made public will be made public at that time,” Wilke said in his statement.
During the EC’s upcoming meeting, they also are expected to officially elect an interim president and CEO. Jonathan Howe, who has served the EC since 2019 as vice president for communications, is currently serving in that role.