Atlanta Pride executive director announces resignation

Buck Cooke is resigning as executive director of Atlanta Pride effective July 9 to move to London and begin a new life with his soon-to-be husband.

The Atlanta Pride Committee announced Cooke’s announcement today. A search for a new executive director is expected to begin March 24 a search for a new executive director.

“There is a solid plan in place with APC leadership to ensure seamless movement forward during this time of transition. Additional details will be updated in the coming weeks, but the APC is confident that with Cooke’s exit plan, everything from their strategic planning process and ongoing community engagement, to logistics and permits for the 2015 festival, marches, and parade will be handled efficiently and effectively,” states a press release from the Atlanta Pride Committee. Atlanta Pride 2015 is set for Oct. 10-11.

Cooke will be married to Mark McCabe in London in August and the two will begin a life there together.

“Atlanta has been my home for over 15 years and Atlanta Pride has played a huge role in my time here as a festival attendee and community member, as a volunteer, and on staff,” Cooke said in a statement.

“Serving as the executive director of the Atlanta Pride Committee has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, but there comes a time when one must follow a new path. For me, my new path leads me to London to build a new life with my fiancé, Mark McCabe. I am thrilled to be married in August and begin a new adventure and will always look back fondly on my time with Atlanta Pride.”

The Atlanta Pride Committee praised Cooke for his work in attracting powerhouse entertainment to the Pride stages, including the likes of Meghan Trainor, dance music icon Amber, and chart topper Colbie Caillat in 2014.

“During Cooke’s tenure, the APC saw unprecedented growth in their organization, including the expansion of Stonewall Week to Stonewall Month; an increase in their year-round programming; a surge in media coverage and partnerships; as well as an escalation of talent and performances at the annual festival, among other notable accomplishments,” the APC said in a statement.

Cooke was hired in 2012 to head up the largest Pride fest in the Southeast.

Trisha Clymore, chair of the Atlanta Pride Committee, said, “On behalf of the board of directors we are very sad to see Buck leave, but wish him all the happiness in the world with his move to London and his upcoming wedding. The board is moving forward with a search/personnel committee and has the utmost confidence that things will move along smoothly.”