Following eight months without a permanent leader, the Capital Area United Way board officially launched its search for a new chief executive officer this week.

Interim CEO Richard Williams said Thursday he wants the job.

“When I applied for the interim job and was in interviews, I told them then that I was very much interested in applying for the job when and if they had a CEO search,” Williams said in a phone interview.

Williams said he applied for the job Tuesday.

Board members say they welcome his application.

“Richard has done a fine job in the time he’s been here,” Christy Reeves, chairman of the United Way board, said in a United Way news release Thursday. “We have strongly encouraged him to seek the permanent position.”

Williams was retired from BlueCross BlueShield after 35 years with the company when he became the Capital Area United Way’s interim CEO.

Williams stepped in after Karen Profita resigned from the CEO job in May.

Profita was one of three United Way CEOs to resign from the job in a six-year span.

Profita, hired in August 2008, replaced Howard Taylor, who resigned in May 2008 after 15 months on the job. Taylor replaced Ken Hinrichs, who resigned in November 2006 after leading the organization for nine years.

United Way officials posted the job on numerous websites and also is running advertising in regional publications.

Capital Area United Way spokeswoman Kendall Hebert said the search extends nationwide through the United Way organization’s internal network.

“We’ve already had quite a few inquiries and are hopeful we will have a robust pool of candidates to choose from,” Scott Berg, search committee chairman, said in the release.

United Way officials plan to have a new and permanent CEO on board by April 1, although the deadline is not mandatory.

CAUW has taken the past few months to undertake a strategic planning process in order to determine the long-term direction for the organization.

Berg said the search committee will review résumés and narrow the field to several candidates who will then be presented to the full board as well as community stakeholders.