Embattled conservation group leader heads for exit

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Clark, who has led the group for 12 years, will remain on the job while the organization’s board of directors conducts a search for her replacement, the group said in a statement.
“I have dedicated my career to conservation and believe at this point in my life that I can have a greater impact for wildlife by applying my passion, knowledge and expertise in a different way,” Clark said in a statement. “I look forward to focusing my time and energy more directly on pressing conservation challenges impacting imperiled species and important landscapes and helping foster the next generation of wildlife conservationists.”
Clark is a biologist by training who led the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service during the Clinton Administration. She first joined Defenders of Wildlife in 2004 and was named president and CEO of the organization in 2011 when Rodger Schlickeisen retired from the role.
Mark Caylor, chair of the group’s board of directors, called Clark “an icon in the conservation movement” and said she will be “dearly missed.”
On her watch, the group said, Defenders launched a Center for Conservation Innovation while expanding its field presence to the Northwest, Southeast, Texas and New Mexico.
Clark has been among the highest-paid leaders of national environmental groups, according to an E&E News review of nonprofits’ tax filings. The group’s most recent publicly available tax filing shows that Clark earned $599,128 in 2021, a figure that included her salary, bonus and other benefits.
“We wish Jamie all the best in her future endeavors and look forward to building a collaborative relationship with her successor,” said Defenders employee Ted Weber on behalf of the staff union’s bargaining committee.


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