Top 10 resignations, reprimands and retirements of 2015

High profile resignations for better or for worse.

By Michelle Hill

This year, protestors, voters and government officials decided it was time for a change. From John Boehner's surprise announcement in Congress to the ousting of Ashley Madison's CEO, here's a list of the most controversial resignations of 2015.

Thomas Jackson, Ferguson, Mo., police chief
Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson resigned in March after the U.S. Department of Justice released a report criticizing his department for racial discrimination. Jackson was the third top official in the city to resign in the wake of the fatal shooting of black teen Michael Brown the year before.


Rachel Dolezal, president of NAACP in Spokane, Wash.
Photo by Aaron Robert Kathman/Wikimedia

Rachel Dolezal announced her resignation in June as president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP after her parents produced a birth certificate indicating she is white. The former president maintains her chosen racial identity and started a nationwide debate about race and ethnicity.


Noel Biderman, Ashley Madison CEO
Noel Biderman with wife, Amanda. Photo courtesy of Noel Biderman/Website

Noel Biderman stepped down as CEO of Avid Life Media, parent company of Ashley Madison, in August after hackers exposed the infidelity website's list of more than 37 million users, including names and emails. Avid Life faced a number of lawsuits in both Canada and the United States following the cyberattack. Among the members whose identities were revealed was Josh Duggar, star of reality television series 19 Kids and Counting, which TLC later canceled.

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Alexis Tsipras, Greek prime mini­ster
Photo by Monika Graff/UPI

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced his resignation in August eight months after he was elected into office. His announcement came amid criticism after he accepted austerity measures his campaign had promised to reject. After the September snap elections, Tsipras led his party to another victory and was re-elected as Prime Minister.


John Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives
Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI

In September, House Speaker John Boehner abruptly announced he would resign from the House of Representatives. His announcement came on the day he was expected to pitch a strategy to fellow Republicans to avoid a government shutdown. Boehner claimed he originally planned to step down at the end of 2014 and cited his ongoing struggle within the Republican party as his main reason for stepping down.

Tim Wolfe, University of Missouri president
Photo by University of Missouri/UPI

University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe resigned in November amid protests over inaction regarding racially charged incidents on campus. Calls for his resignation began after it took nearly a week for the administration to address Missouri Student Association president Payton Head's claims of racial abuse on campus.


Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Photo by Sopotnicki/Shutterstock

A new policy within the Mormon church labeling same-sex couples apostate and refusing to baptize children of same-sex couples caused hundreds of members to formally resign in November. Many active and inactive members stood in line to drop off resignation papers and officially cut ties with the Church.

Ramil Khabriev, head of Russia's anti-doping agency
Photo by RUSADA/VK

The Russian Sports Ministry announced the resignation of Ramil Khabriev, the head of the country's anti-doping agency, in December. His resignation came less than a month after the agency was accused of covering up doping by Russian athletes and suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency commission.

Erika Christakis, Yale professor
Photo courtesy of Erika Christakis/Twitter

Yale professor Erika Christakis resigned in December, months after an email she sent in response to a message from the school's Intercultural Affairs Council cautioned students against wearing insensitive or hateful costumes for Halloween. Her email sparked a series of student protests over free speech and racism on the campus.


Garry McCarthy, police superintendent of Chicago
Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI

One week after the release of a police video showing a white police officer fatally shooting a black teen 16 times, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked for the resignation of Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy in December. Emanuel, facing growing tensions within the city, also announced the creation of a police oversight task force.

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