R. Lee Waits is stepping down as president and chief executive officer of Goodwill Industries-Suncoast Inc. in St. Petersburg after 23 years at the helm of one of Tampa Bay's largest nonprofit groups.
Deborah A. Passerini, the organization's executive vice president and chief operating officer since 2008, will become president and CEO upon Waits' retirement, effective March 1. She has been with Goodwill-Suncoast since 1977 and was responsible for overseeing retail operations and human services in 10 counties.
Under Waits' leadership, Goodwill-Suncoast became one of the top Goodwill agencies in the nation for placing people with disabilities or other challenges in jobs. When he became president and CEO in 1990, Goodwill-Suncoast provided employment services to 1,663 people and had revenue of $11.2 million. Last year, the agency served 66,841 people, placed 10,178 people in jobs and had revenue of $61.8 million.