SBC Executive Committee interim president and CEO Willie McLaurin resigned Thursday afternoon (August 17) after false credentials were discovered on his resume. McLaurin appeared to be the leading candidate to take the post permanently according to recent information from the search committee seeking a new EC president, and the announcement appeared likely ahead of the mid-September EC board meeting. McLaurin has served as Vice President for Great Commission Relations and Mobilization since 2020. He was previously special assistant to the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board starting in 2005.
The recently elected Chair of the EC Board, Dr. Philip Robertson, issued a statement late this afternoon:
The officers of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee received the immediate resignation of Willie McLaurin as interim president and CEO today.
McLaurin had been the SBC Executive Committee’s interim leader since February 2022 following the October 2021 resignation of Ronnie Floyd.
While considering McLaurin as a candidate for Floyd’s permanent replacement, the SBC Executive Committee’s Presidential Search Team discovered disqualifying information during their process of vetting and due diligence. McLaurin’s education credentials that he presented in his resume are false.
In fact, in his resignation letter, McLaurin stated, “In a recent resume that I submitted, it included schools that I did not attend or complete the course of study.”
In a commitment to transparency we will be issuing further updates related to next steps to the presidential search team and SBC Executive Committee’s staff leadership in the near future.
I want to express my deep appreciation for your prayers for the SBC Executive Committee’s members and staff as well the Presidential Search Team. The need for God’s wisdom and direction is paramount at each and every point in the process of searching and selecting the next President and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee.
Please keep the EC staff and the McLaurin family in your prayers.
McLaurin apologized in a letter to EC officers as reported by Baptist Press. “To the Southern Baptists who have placed their confidence in me and have encouraged me to pursue the role of President & CEO of the SBC Executive Committee, including pastors, state partners, entity servants, colleagues, and SBC African American friends, I offer my deepest apologies,” McLaurin said in the resignation letter. “Please forgive me for the harm or hurt that this has caused.”
The EC Trustees will soon hold an emergency meeting in which leadership of the day-to-day operations of the Southern Baptist Convention will be discussed. EC bylaws indicate that the board may choose from among EC Vice Presidents to name an interim president and CEO. Jonathan Howe is Vice President over convention communications and oversight of Baptist Press. He is currently the only remaining vice president although there are several associate vice presidents.
The EC is scheduled to meet in person in Nashville on Sept. 18-19.