STOCKBRIDGE -- In its second top-level management shakeup since late 2010, the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health has replaced its chief executive officer, naming Richard Faulds, former board chairman and 30-year veteran of the New Age spa to replace David Surrenda.
According to an announcement from the 150-acre center, one of South County's largest private employers with net revenues approaching $3 million, Faulds is a "dedicated practitioner of yoga and meditation."
He served as president from 1998-2002, as Kripalu expanded into a national retreat center that now can house 700 guests at a time. Faulds has not only chaired the board of trustees but also has been the facility's attorney.
Using the name Shobhan, Faulds teaches yoga to guests and staffers and has written four books about the Kripalu tradition.
Though he was unavailable for an interview, Faulds stated via e-mail that "leadership issues are complex and ultimately David and the board reached a mutual decision not to extend his contract. We wish him well and, by all indications, that is the feeling he has about Kripalu."
Faulds also asserted that "David did important work during his tenure. Along with hiring several highly talented new staff members to augment Kripalu's existing leadership, David broke through some barriers to move us into the contemporary age of digital program delivery."
"He also led a planning effort that clarified the need for some
Surrenda, who remains a Stockbridge resident after a year and a half at Kripalu full-time, did not return a message seeking comment in time for this report.
Noting that Kripalu has evolved from an unincorporated yoga association to a large ashram staffed by volunteers to a professionally-managed nonprofit, Faulds described the center's ongoing mission as steady over the years.
"We support people from all walks of life in realizing their full potential for health, well-being, and creative self-expression," he stated.
"The primary tools we use to do this are yoga and holistic lifestyle. In recent years, the number of national presenters and new programs has increased, our Institute for Extraordinary Living has become a world leader in yoga research, and we've reached out to do some exciting impact work including a highly successful Yoga in the Schools program with local high schools."
Asked to describe his vision for Kripalu's future, Faulds expressed his desire for the center "to stay true to what it has always been -- a dynamic, nonprofit, yoga-based service organization."
In a statement supporting Fauld's leadership, the current chairwoman of the Board of Trustees, Marcy Balter, de clared: "We are all very optimistic about the future of Kripalu and have no doubt that we can harness the momentum we've gained over the past few years to move the organization forward while staying true to our identity as a dynamic yoga-based retreat center."
After Surrenda was hired, he embarked on a top-to-bottom review of operations, telling The Eagle that a year of "careful self-examination of the institution" would include marketing, fundraising, curriculum and employment of the staff. His base salary was $200,000 a year.
Annual attendance increased by close to 20 percent during his brief tenure, while the endowment grew to more than $1 million and net revenues expanded.
Before his arrival, the organization endured major budget cutbacks, stringent cost controls and laid off more than 60 employees as a result of the Great Recession, while delaying maintenance projects.
Surrenda, 66, is a New York City native who earned a doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Mass achusetts-Amherst in 1969.
He treated Vietnam war veterans at VA hospitals in Northampton and in Palo Alto, Calif., before moving on to holistic academic programs and a post as director of an Oakland, Calif., consulting firm.
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By the numbers . . .
A snapshot of the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Inc., on Route 183 in Stockbridge:
n Founded: 1971 in Pennsylvania; moved to Stockbridge in 1983.
n IRS non-profit status: Human services, personal social services.
n Attendance (annual): About 35,000.
n Revenue: $28,842,000.
n Expenses: $25,975,000.
n Net revenue: $2,866,000.
n Endowment: $1,243,000.
n Total assets (including land, buildings): $41,191,000.
n Total liabilities: $24,553,000.
n Net assets: $16,637,000.
n Employees (full and part-time): 485.
n Volunteers: 1,115.
n Annual in-lieu-of-tax payments to Stockbridge: $31,000.
n Mission: A charitable and educational organization with a primary tax-exempt purpose of enhancing the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of individuals, and uplift society by promoting the art, science, practices and philosophy of yoga. Also, to promote other traditional and contemporary approaches to life that integrate body, mind and spirit, and help individuals and groups flourish and perform at peak levels through practices and beliefs similar to yoga.
Source: IRS Form 990 documentation for fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2010 via guidestar.org.