Three Top Executives Depart Bishop Museum Departures follow investigation into workplace concerns
News Release from Bishop Museum, Jan 12, 2023
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi — The Board of Directors of Bishop Museum today announced the departures of chief executive officer Melanie Ide; general counsel Barron Oda; and vice president of operations, planning, and program management Kaiwi Yoon following the completion of an independent investigation into the Museum’s work environment. The departures, effective immediately, were approved by a unanimous vote of the full Board of Directors.
The three executives have been on administrative leave with pay since July 1, on the advice of seasoned outside counsel, (WHO?) pending the completion of an independent investigation into multiple staff complaints about the workplace environment at the Museum.
The investigator, (the Board won’t say but it is Barbara A. Petrus per Star-Adv) an attorney with 40 years of experience in labor law, interviewed 43 current and former members of the Museum staff. More than half of those interviewed were individuals whom Ide, Oda and/or Yoon requested the investigator speak with. Honoring the requests of Ide, Yoon and Oda as well as scheduling issues, significantly extended the length of the investigation.
The report (SECRET) will not be made public to honor the confidentiality of the employees who provided information to the investigator, as well as the right to privacy of the affected executives.
“Our kuleana as a board is to ensure a healthy and safe work environment for the staff whose work provides the foundation for the success and longevity of Bishop Museum,” said board chairman Wayne Pitluck, on behalf of the full board. “After thorough review and discussion, the full board feels separation of the three executives from Bishop Museum is required to provide the proper work environment for our engaged and dedicated staff.”
“The board will now act quickly to appoint an interim CEO with experience in organizational leadership. The interim CEO’s immediate task will be to identify and implement HR policies that reflect best practices for large organizations. The board will also begin a search for a new CEO with demonstrated experience at the highest levels of organizational leadership,” Pitluck explained.
Big Q: What do you make of Bishop Museum firing three of its top executives?
SA: Bishop Museum board terminates 3 top executives -- The AG’s office is reviewing the complaint to determine whether an investigation is warranted.
HNN: “There have been anonymous reports of things that take place in the workplace, which I’m going to say from the things that I’m aware of are things that have been handled and they’ve been going through policies and procedures,” she said.