We live in strange and unusual times...but they aren't the best of times. Many (most??) federations seeking a successor CEO today are looking outside the "system" -- they believe, as JFNA believed, that this represents thinking outside the box. In reality, the "box" today has been turned inside out and those with experience, in particular in raising dollars to meet Jewish needs, are rejected for what appears to be that very reason.
Sadly, JFNA and its Mandel Center have been active participants in this turning away from experienced communal professionals who might lead federations, and, in many instances, are eminently qualified to do so. And this is nothing new. Back in mid-decade, JFNA's Consulting Services "worked with" consultants in numerous communities on "strategic plans" that moved communities away from the federation model to something vastly different. Look at the results in, e.g., Philadelphia and San Diego, where the federations are in worse than desperate shape (when the then JFNA CEO learned that he was listed as a "resource" in the Philadelphia "plan," he demanded that his name be removed).
Below is an article appearing in ejewishphilanthropy, written by an experienced national and communal professional whose insights are far better than mine: