A week after the United States Anti-Doping Agency released a report putting him at the center of alleged doping activities involving the United States Postal Service cycling team, Lance Armstrong has announced that he is stepping down as chairman of Livestrong, the cancer charity he founded fifteen years ago.
"I have had the great honor of serving as this foundation's chairman for the last five years and its mission and success are my top priorities," said Armstrong, a cancer survivor, at a news conference on Wednesday. "Today therefore, to spare [Livestrong] any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship." Armstrong will continue to serve on the organization's board.
The news of Armstrong's resignation preceded announcements by a number of large sports/athletic companies that they were ending their relationships with the cyclist as a result of the USADA report, which was released nearly two months after Armstrong decided not to contest doping charges brought against him by the agency. Nike, the brand most closely associated with the seven-time Tour de France winner, was the first to announce it was severing ties with Armstrong, although, according to the New York Times, the company pledged to continue to back "Livestrong initiatives." Later in the day, Anheuser-Busch announced that it would not renew its contract with Armstrong, followed by Trek Bicycle, Giro, and FRS Healthy Performance.
During the press conference, Armstrong and Livestrong announced that vice chairman Jeff Garvey would assume the responsibilities of chairman. "Jeff has been a guiding presence for Livestrong for fifteen years," said Livestrong president and CEO Doug Ulman, "and we look forward to a seamless transition under his leadership and a continued strong focus on our core values and mission."