(WOMENSENEWS)–John Reed, the new chief of the New York Stock Exchange, recently indicated that he would not use his position to urge the Augusta National Golf Club to admit women.

Reed, once retired but now interim chief executive officer of the New York Stock Exchange, rejected a recent plea from the National Council of Women’s Organizations to cancel his membership at the club. The council has been in a battle for more than a year over whether the famous club–home to one of golf’s most prestigious tournaments–would continue its refusal to admit women as members.

"If I return to retirement, maybe I’ll talk about where I golf," Reed told the Houston Chronicle. Reed retired from his post as chief executive officer of Citigroup in 2000.

In a July 2002 statement, Augusta’s chairman Hootie Johnson publicly responded to a private letter from the council’s chair Martha Burk, asking him to admit female members, by telling the press: "There may well come a day when women will be invited to join our membership, but that timetable will be ours, and not at the point of a bayonet."

Burk argues that Reed should resign from the club as part of his efforts to restore the reputation of his office. He was appointed after enormous public criticism of his predecessor’s excessive compensation.

"The New York Stock Exchange appointed Mr. Reed to clean up its image," Burk said in a press release. "No responsible leader would maintain a membership in a club that discriminates against women."

— Carline Bennett.