The chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of Central Indiana is stepping down. Deborah Hearn Smith says she will retire at the end of the year, after serving as CEO since 2001.

Smith has been a part of Girl Scouts on a professional level since the early 1970s. She was named CEO of Girl Scouts of Hoosier Capital Council in 2001 and became CEO of Girl Scouts of Central Indiana in 2007 after five local Girl Scouts councils merged into one.

"It has been my great pleasure and honor to impact the girls of central Indiana for many years," Smith said in a statement to the media. "As with all things in life there is a time to transition, and this is my time."

The Girl Scouts of Central Indiana Board of Directors says a search committee will be created that will work with a national search firm to find a successor to Smith. The board says it plans to have a new CEO in place before the end of the year.