The Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee on Tuesday named attorney D. August "Augie" Boto as its interim president following the retirement of former president Frank Page last month due to an "inappropriate relationship."
Boto, who previously served as the entity's lawyer and executive vice president, was named interim president following a meeting of executive committee officers in Nashville, Tennessee, reports SBC's official news service Baptist Press.
According to committee chairman Stephen Rummage, senior pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Florida, Boto has over 20 years of service to the SBC.
Boto served for three years as a member of the committee during the 1990s and then was selected to serve as the committee's vice president for convention policy and staff counsel in 1998. Boto began serving as executive vice president and general counsel of the executive committee in 2007.
Boto, a father of three, also serves as a Sunday School teacher and a Bible study leader at Forest Hills Baptist Church in Nashville.
"The officers have confidence that Augie will provide stability in leadership for the Executive Committee during this interim period as the EC begins its search for a new president," Rummage said in a statement.
In addition, the committee's five officers gave Boto "the option to appoint an interim EC presidential ambassador during this period of transition to assist him in fulfilling the many representative functions that fall to the office of president."
"We ask Southern Baptists to continue to pray for the Executive Committee staff in their day-to-day duties in the countdown days to the SBC annual meeting in Dallas and for the full Executive Committee as we meet in two weeks to elect a presidential search committee," Rumage said.
In a statement, Boto said that he is "committed to the principle that Southern Baptists accomplish more when we work together."
"In the lead-up to the SBC annual meeting in Dallas, our staff will spotlight the full array of Southern Baptist missions and ministries, promoting support for our collaborative work through the Cooperative Program," Boto said.
Page, who announced his retirement on March 26, had served as the president and chief executive of the executive committee since 2010.
"I have embarrassed my family, my Lord, myself, and the Kingdom," Page said in a statement after announcing his decision. "Out of a desire to protect my family and those I have hurt, I initially announced my retirement earlier today without a complete explanation. However, after further wrestling with my personal indiscretion, it became apparent to me that this situation must be acknowledged in a more forthright manner."
"It is my most earnest desire in the days to come to rebuild the fabric of trust with my wife and daughters, those who know me best and love me most," page added.
The executive committee is investigating Page's actions to determine if he committed any illegal acts and to determine if any further action is necessary on Page's front. According to Baptist Press, the executive committee will hold a special meeting on April 17 and issue a report on the "activities" related to Page's resignation.
"Chairman Rummage and Page had a conversation ... in which Page was forthcoming about a matter Page considered to be disqualifying from further leadership with the Executive Committee," Roger S. Oldham, vice president for convention communications and relations, told Baptist Press in an April 2 update. "Based on that conversation, the officers have no reason to suspect any legal impropriety. The Executive Committee will exercise due diligence to determine if anything has occurred that would require further action."
At the meeting, the committee will also elect six members who will join Rummage in a seven-person presidential search committee.