Herndon Graddick is the new president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the group announced Saturday.

Graddick currently serves as GLAAD's vice president of programs and communications.

“Herndon is already a well-respected leader within the LGBT movement, and we believe will be a visionary and strategic leader for GLAAD's culture-changing work,” Sheri Fults, national co-chair of GLAAD's board of directors, said in a statement.

“Right now GLAAD and our partners in the LGBT movement are making a significant difference at a time when a difference needs to be made,” said Graddick. “I look forward to working with our dedicated staff to create a culture where there is a welcoming and respected space for LGBT Americans. GLAAD's work with the media to inspire Americans to speak out against anti-LGBT actions and support equality is needed today more than ever.”

GLAAD began a nation-wide search for a replacement to former head Jarrett Barrios 9 months ago. Barrios stepped down in June amid allegations of influence peddling. Six board members also tendered their resignations.