NEW ORLEANS - Janet Howard, the president and CEO of the non-profit Bureau of Governmental Research, will resign, the organization announced Thursday.

Howard had been with BGR since 2001 as its top leader and public face, a frequent interviewee in news stories on BGR studies and many other issues.

Howard has agreed to stay with BGR until the organization has hired a new president & CEO, the organization said in a press release.

A search committee has been formed to manage and oversee the search for a new leader. The committee will be chaired by BGR's vice chairman, Hardy Fowler.

"Through her inspired leadership of BGR, Janet has touched and improved the lives of New Orleanians many times," said Mark Mayer, BGR's Chairman. "She will leave a legacy of intellect, professionalism and integrity. While all of us on the board will miss working with her, she leaves BGR well-prepared for the future."

The group credits Howard with increasing the impact of BGR's work and its profile in the community by making reports more succinct and pursuing implementation of recommendations on multiple fronts.

"BGR initiatives resulted in a number of notable achievements, including the demise of an ill-conceived privatization of the Sewerage & Water Board, the consolidation of New Orleans' seven assessor offices into one, and major contracting reforms in the City of New Orleans," the group said.