VANCOUVER, B.C. (May 2, 2017) — The David Suzuki Foundation announced today the appointment of a new chief executive officer. Stephen Cornish, executive director of Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières Canada, will join the Foundation on November 1. He succeeds Peter Robinson, who served as the Foundation’s CEO for almost a decade, creating a strong national organization operating in both English and French.
“Joining the David Suzuki Foundation is an amazing opportunity,” Cornish said. “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.”
Cornish joins the Foundation after five years as executive director of 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. Cornish has been at the front lines of crises throughout the world, problem solving under intense pressure.
Cornish is a board member of Youth Challenge International and an honorary board member of Canadian Physicians for the Environment. He holds a BA High Honours from Carleton University plus a master’s degree in Global Risk and Crisis Management from Université de la Sorbonne, and is fluent in French and Spanish.
David Suzuki, who co-founded the Foundation with his wife Tara Cullis, is delighted by the appointment. “When we created the David Suzuki Foundation more than 25 years ago, we did so on the principle of interconnectedness. Just as diversity in nature is crucial for our survival, so it is within an organization, within a movement. We feel proud the Foundation is able to attract the kind of talent that Stephen demonstrates. The issues facing us are more grave than ever and we need the continuity of strong leadership.”
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.
“The David Suzuki Foundation Board of Directors is pleased that Stephen has accepted this opportunity,” Board 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.”
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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Tracey Friesen, Director of Communications & Engagement
David Suzuki Foundation
(778) 772 3401