Following an extensive search process, the club’s Assistant General Manager, Charles Johnson, will rise to the position of Executive Manager effective Feb. 1, 2020. He will succeed the retiring Ted Gillary, who has been at DAC for 29 years—25 years as Executive Manager.
After a rigorous succession-planning and search process, Detroit Athletic Club announced that the club’s Assistant General Manager, Charles Johnson, was the unanimous choice to succeed Ted Gillary as Executive Manager. Johnson will assume the position in February 2020.
“Charles has had an incredibly thoughtful and well-planned career in management at legendary clubs that include the Johns Island Club in Johns Island, Fla.; Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pa.; and, most recently, at our own Detroit Athletic Club under the tutelage of Ted Gillary as the Assistant General Manager for over five years,” Geoffrey S. Gallinger, President of Detroit Athletic Club wrote in a letter to membership.
In addition to overseeing the day-to-day operations of the DAC, Johnson has been involved in all, from strategic planning to project management and involvement in our governance, Board and Committee meetings.
A native Michigander, Johnson earned his bachelor’s in business administration from Central Michigan University and also earned the designation of a Certified Club Manager (CCM) through the Club Management Association of America.
This announcement comes as DAC enters the final two months of Gillary’s tenure.
“We wish Ted, our revered Executive Manager of 25 years and DAC employee for 29 years, a wonderful retirement and fulfilling new chapter of his life,” Gallinger wrote. “We are grateful for his contributions and commitment to our club, to our membership and traditions, and for his support during this process and time of transition.”
At the onset, a Succession Committee was formed that encompassed Gallinger, Matt Pappas, David Fisher and Paul Huth. After interviewing a number of the top national executive search and club consulting firms, DAC retained Kirk Reese of Denehy Club Thinking Partners to assist in succession planning and the ensuing search process.
“A Search Committee was commissioned consisting of myself, Kristin Ritter, Brian Demkowicz, Mary Kramer, Pat O’Keefe and David Provost,” Gallinger wrote. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of both the Succession Committee and the Search Committee, who contributed their time and insight throughout this important and time-consuming process. Their contributions to our club’s future should be recognized and appreciated by all.”
The search process began in earnest with a three-day club visit by the Denehy Club Thinking Partners team. Reese, Dan Denehy and Karen Alexander took a full tour of the DAC facilities and met with a number of staff, including all the direct reports of the Executive Manager and, finally, with Gillary. Reese also conducted member sessions to gain insight into the club and its traditions, culture and complex operations. Their findings were presented to the Search Committee.
The initial research and discussions resulted in the creation of a comprehensive, forward-looking job description, which was used to guide the search and the customized criteria for rating top candidates.
After reviewing and vetting candidates in the national pool, the firm presented the Search Committee eight uniquely qualified people for consideration, of which five were invited to the club for interviews, Gallinger explained. From this interview process and due diligence, Johnson emerged as the successful candidate.
“Charles is well-prepared and highly qualified to step into the role of the Detroit Athletic Club executive manager,” Reese said. “He is one of the finest young professionals in the private club industry and is recommended without reservation.”
Johnson officially assumes his new role on Feb. 1, 2020.