Angie's List CEO Resigns, Announces Plans to Re-Enter Politics to Fix Indiana's 'Badly Damaged' Reputation
Angie's List CEO Bill Oesterle has announced he is stepping down as CEO and will re-enter politics in an effort to help fix Indiana's "badly damaged" reputation following the firestorm over the state's "religious freedom" law.
Oesterle, a Republican and former supporter of Gov. Mike Pence, was one of the first major Indiana-based business leaders to join the corporate backlash against the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act. He was also one of the first (and remains one of the few) business leaders to reject the so-called "fix" to the state's law, calling it "insufficient" to prevent discrimination against LGBT individuals.
The Indianapolis Star reports:
Indiana's public image "took a shellacking" after passage of RFRA spurred widespread criticism from gay rights groups, much of the business community and others, Oesterle said. "Indiana was under significant duress and went through a heartbreaking situation."
Oesterle's announcement amounts to "an announcement of trying to unseat a governor," said Andy Downs, director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics. "If you think about the individual positions that could have made a difference about this (RFRA), that's only one, that's the governor."
"That is somebody who is saying either he is running for governor or is looking for somebody to run for governor," Downs said of Oesterle.
Oesterle, a West Lafayette native and former trustee at Purdue University, said he hasn't decided whether he wants to run as a candidate or support someone else. In 2004, Oesterle took a leave from Angie's to manage [two-term Gov. Mitch] Daniels' first campaign, which raised a record $18 million for an Indiana gubernatorial race and unseated a sitting governor, Democrat Joe Kernan.
Gov. Pence is up for reelection in 2016.
Read the Angie's List press release announcing Oesterle's departure, AFTER THE JUMP...