January 14, 2011

Defenders of Wildlife announced today that its president of more than nineteen years, Rodger Schlickeisen, plans to step down as of October 1, 2011. I’m sure all of our supporters will be just as sad as we are here at Defenders to see Rodger head off for a well-deserved rest and retirement!

“I am very grateful for the two decades that I have been privileged to lead Defenders and to grow it into one of the nation’s most progressive and effective advocates for protecting wildlife.”

Luckily for Defenders, and for all the wildlife and wild lands we work to protect, we have a great leader ready to take up the reins: current executive vice president and former head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Jamie Rappaport Clark.

Here’s Rodger’s statement on his plans:

Rodger Schlickeisen

Defenders of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen

“On September 1st, I will have served 20 years as president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife.  That’s longer than anyone else has led this organization, and as I said to Defenders’ board when I announced my decision to retire, I think that is long enough.  All organizations can benefit from leadership renewal, and it is a good time for my superb senior partner at Defenders to succeed me.  I am very grateful for the two decades that I have been privileged to lead Defenders and to grow it into one of the nation’s most progressive and effective advocates for protecting wildlife.  As I have considered retirement, my greatest concern has been that Defenders continue to grow and become ever more effective in fighting against the severe loss of biodiversity that threatens our planet and future generations.  With the naming of Jamie Rappaport Clark as my successor, I feel certain it will, and that the organization will become even more effective in the years ahead.”

And here’s what Jamie had to say about following in Rodger’s footsteps:

Jamie walking across sand (Krista Schlyer)

Jamie walking across sand (Krista Schlyer)

“I am very excited and proud to lead the great organization that Defenders has become under Rodger Schlickeisen’s leadership.  I am grateful for the faith the board has shown in me by naming me his successor. I look forward to working closely with Rodger – as we have done for the past seven years – through the coming months of leadership transition.  I am ready to lead this extraordinary organization and the great Defenders team of conservation professionals. Having spent my whole career, in one capacity or another, safeguarding our country’s precious wildlife and special places,  I am eager to bring all of the experience I’ve accumulated to the task of leading Defenders as a consistent and persistent voice for science-based conservation of our spectacular natural resources as we work with our partners to tackle some of  the most important wildlife conservation challenges that climate change and continued population and economic growth will present.”

You can also read our press release announcing this transition.

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