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130530-doug-heller-4-2012-courtesy-heller.JPGNonprofit advocacy group Consumer Watchdog issued an email this afternoon announcing that its executive director is leaving, effective immediately.

Doug Heller is stepping down after 16 years with the Santa Monica-based organization best known for its battles with the insurance industry. As Consumer Watchdog's executive director, Heller was the oft-quoted face of the group for the last nine years.

In a telephone interview after the announcement, Heller said that he had discussed his departure with the organization's board some months ago. Despite the suddenness of today's news, he said, "there's zero acrimony" prompting his exit.

Heller intends to continue consumer-issues consulting work. Carmen Balber, Consumer Watchdog's Washington, D.C., director is the organization's new executive director.

PHOTO CREDIT: Doug Heller. Courtesy of Doug Heller / Sacramento Bee file, 2012



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