VANCOUVER – After an extensive recruitment process, global executive search firm Odgers Berndtson has placed Stephen Cornish, Executive Director of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières Canada (MSF), as the new CEO with the David Suzuki Foundation. A highly respected NGO, the Foundation seeks to conserve the environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through science-based research, education and policy work.
Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Mr. Cornish will join the Foundation on November 1, 2017. He succeeds Peter Robinson, who served as the Foundation’s CEO for almost a decade.
Odgers Berndtson Vancouver partners, Elaine Grotefeld and Esther McGregor, co-led the assignment. “We are delighted to have helped the Foundation to secure an outstanding leader in Stephen Cornish,” said Ms. Grotefeld “Over the last thirty years, the David Suzuki Foundation has developed into a strong and capable force for change, and we are excited to see Mr. Cornish bring his vision, experience and commitment to this important role.”
Mr. Cornish joins the Foundation after five years with MSF, where he led tremendous change, including overseeing strategic growth by improving public recognition of MSF in Canada, growing the number of staff by 40 per cent to support field operations globally, and increasing revenue-generating activities by 76 per cent. He has also held senior leadership positions with CARE Canada and the Canadian Red Cross, and was named one of the top 30 charity CEOs on social media in 2016.
In addition to his leadership work in the not-for-profit sector, Mr. Cornish is a board member of Youth Challenge International and an honorary board member of Canadian Physicians for the Environment. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with High Honours from Carleton University and a Master’s degree in Global Risk & Crisis Management from Université de la Sorbonne, and is fluent in French and Spanish.
Said Mr. Cornish of his new role with the David Suzuki Foundation: “It’s an amazing opportunity. Over my career, I’ve been driven by the need to reduce suffering and to contribute toward social and environmental progress. This iconic Canadian organization truly has the power to affect significant change in this country, and well beyond.”
The David Suzuki Foundation Board of Directors expressed their approval of the appointment. “We are pleased that Stephen has accepted this opportunity,” Chair Peter Ladner said. “He possesses the full range of skills necessary for a smooth transition into the next chapter of the Foundation’s story. It’s vital to have someone of Stephen’s calibre guiding the organization toward its urgent environmental impact goals.”
Mr. Cornish’s immediate priorities as incoming CEO include strengthening the campaign for a Federal Environmental Bill of Rights, promoting community-based renewable energy initiatives, deepening relationships with Indigenous peoples, and protecting biodiversity.
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