Head of Catholic Charities resignsby Elizabeth Baier, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Rev. John Estrem has resigned as CEO of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the agency said Tuesday afternoon. His last day will be June 30.
In a statement, Estrem described his time as CEO of Catholic Charities as his "dream job." He did not give a specific reason for leaving his position.
"My life and career have been on a single path for 30 years," Estrem said. "After great soul searching, I believe it is essential for me to step back and reflect on the next phase of my career, and decide how and where I can be of most service."
Estrem was appointed in 2005 to direct the agency, which operates on an annual budget of $35 million and serves about 40,000 people without regard to their faith.
Prior to his appointment as CEO of Catholic Charities, Estrem served as rector of the Cathedral of St. Paul and was pastor of St. Peter's in North St. Paul.
"I am personally saddened by the request of Fr. John Estrem to take a one-year leave of absence from his priestly ministry," Archbishop John Nienstedt said. "Fr. John has been a highly valued priest in the parishes where he served, as well as in his recent role as Archdiocesan Director of Catholic Charities. He has and will continue to have my support in fraternity and in prayer."
Nienstedt named Robert Spinner, a former chair of the organization's board of directors, as interim CEO.
Spinner is a retired hospital executive with Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Allina Hospitals and Clinics. He served as chair of the Catholic Charities board from January 2007 through December 2008.
Spinner will begin his duties at Catholic Charities on June 8.
Mary W. Frey, chair of Catholic Charities board, said a national search will take place to find a permanent replacement.