Dr. Steven E. Sanderson, our president and CEO, announced today that he will retire in July 2012. Dr. Sanderson, who has led WCS since 2001, has spent more than 30 years serving wildlife conservation, poverty alleviation, and academia.

“I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity to serve with WCS, the most global cultural institution in New York,” said Dr. Sanderson. “It is a privilege to work with the most dedicated, effective, and creative colleagues anywhere, on behalf of saving wildlife and wild places around the globe. The point of the announcement is not my retirement but to set a calendar for the continuation of our mission. During the next two years, we will continue to work furiously as stewards of conservation and cultural life in New York.”

Ward Woods, WCS board chairman, lauded Sanderson's work in the field. “Steve is an extraordinary champion of WCS, improving our facilities in New York and expanding our global conservation work into more than 60 nations," he said. "He has led a renaissance at the Bronx Zoo, a successful $650 million capital campaign, and the beginning of a transformation of the New York Aquarium. Perhaps more importantly, he has aligned the strengths of our parks and global efforts as one powerful and unmatched force protecting nature and our planet. Today, WCS is a non-profit with vision, and management to match. It’s indicative of his foresight that he has planned a thoughtful transition as well as an outline of what we want to accomplish during his remaining tenure.”

During Dr. Sanderson’s professional life, he has also tried to strengthen the connections between deforestation and climate change, conservation and poverty, and conservation in areas of violent political conflict. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former Fulbright Scholar in Mexico, Dr. Sanderson has written and lectured on Latin America, rural poverty, biodiversity conservation, and the impacts of global climate change on wildlife.

Prior to his appointment in 2001, Dr. Sanderson was dean of Emory College at Emory University and a faculty member at the University of Florida. In the 1980s, he held a Rockefeller Foundation International Relations Fellowship and a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship, among others. He also served as Ford Foundation Program Officer in Brazil. In 1978, Dr. Sanderson received a PhD in Political Science from Stanford University.