Department of Interior Executive Brings Decades of Experience with Environmental Campaigns and Organizational Management to Leading Non-Profit
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a leading environmental advocacy group, announced last week that Rhea Suh will assume its presidency in January 2015 following the retirement of long-time leader Francis Beinecke. Most recently, Suh has been overseeing financial and management matters for the U.S. Department of Interior, where she was instrumental in launching a complex reorganization of the regulatory agency responsible for offshore oil and gas oversight in the midst of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and helped develop and secure new policies for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. She also led a diversity initiative there that included the creation of DOI’s first Chief Diversity Officer, trainings and a network of diversity champions.
“It has been an unparalleled privilege to work for the President and Interior Secretaries Ken Salazar and Sally Jewell,” Suh told reporters. “Now, I’m honored to join NRDC, our nation’s intrepid defender of clean air, safe water, and wild places.”
Prior to her role with the Obama administration, Suh managed a $200 million budget at the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, where she was charged with planning a six-year initiative to build ecological resilience in key lands and watersheds in western North America. And before that she designed and managed the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s highly effective energy initiative, and also was instrumental in the creation of the Great Bear Rainforest, one of the most successful land protection campaigns in North America.
Frances Beinecke is stepping down from day-to-day duties at NRDC after 40 years with the organization — the last nine as president — and helped pick Suh as her successor. “Rhea has the tenacity and talent to help our movement win on climate change,” said Beinecke. “She understands that this is the greatest environmental, health and economic threat of our time, and she understands that this is the moment we can turn the tide. She will be ferocious in this fight, and I can’t wait to watch her take this on.”