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Defenders of Wildlife announces planned retirement of its president and names his successor

Executive vice president Jamie Rappaport Clark named as successor

WASHINGTON (01/14/2011) -

Defenders of Wildlife Board of Directors Chair Vic Sher announced today that Rodger Schlickeisen is retiring as president and CEO of the organization effective October 1, 2011, and that Jamie Rappaport Clark, current executive vice president, will be his successor. This transition will also apply to the affiliated Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund. 

Following is a statement from Vic Sher, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Defenders of Wildlife

On behalf of the board of directors of Defenders of Wildlife, I want to thank Rodger Schlickeisen – in advance of his October 1st retirement - for the significant contributions he has made both to Defenders and to wildlife conservation during his 20 years as president and CEO.  When he took over leadership of Defenders, it was a small and little known wildlife advocacy organization working on just a handful of issues.  Today, primarily because of his vision, determination and leadership, it is one of the nation’s largest, most influential and most respected wildlife conservation organizations. If imperiled wildlife could speak, I am sure they would join all of the board in thanking him for a job incredibly well done. I am grateful that he plans to continue to provide assistance to Defenders as president emeritus.

At this same time, I am very happy to announce that the board of directors has selected Defenders of Wildlife’s very able Executive Vice President Jamie Rappaport Clark to succeed Rodger Schlickeisen as president and CEO effective upon his resignation and retirement on October 1, 2011.  She brings to the job an almost perfect combination of professional wildlife conservation experience and senior management skills, well honed by her seven years as executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife, and before that in a number of other impressive conservation positions, including director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service during some of that agency’s most successful years. I am confident Defenders will continue to be a major conservation force under her leadership.

Following is a statement from Rodger Schlickeisen, President and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife

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.

Following is a statement from Jamie Rappaport Clark, Executive Vice President of Defenders of Wildlife

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.


Read Rodger Schlickeisen's biography

Read Jamie Rappaport Clark's biography



Jared Saylor, 202-772-3255

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.  With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come.  For more information, visit www.defenders.org.