Joanna Kerr named executive director of Greenpeace Canada

Feature story - June 21, 2013
Greenpeace Canada announced today the hiring of Joanna Kerr as executive director of Greenpeace Canada beginning 14 October 2013.

Joanna Kerr

Kerr is presently the chief executive of anti-poverty agency ActionAid International in Johannesburg, South Africa, that works in almost 50 countries with a global staff of 2,800 people. Previously she was a policy director at Oxfam Canada and the executive director at the Association of Women’s Rights in Development.

“Stopping climate change and environmental degradation are the most urgent priorities of my generation,” said Kerr. “For over two decades I have worked for economic empowerment and human rights for women and the most marginalized people around the world, an agenda now undermined by climate related causes.”

A native of Toronto, Kerr holds a Bachelor degree in African Studies from the University of Toronto and has a Masters in Gender and Development from the University of Sussex.

“We’re very excited to welcome Joanna to Greenpeace Canada,” said Sue Birge, chair of Greenpeace Canada’s board of directors. “She brings exceptional leadership and passion at a time when the national and global political context is so challenging.”

Kerr succeeds Bruce Cox at Greenpeace Canada who decided to take a sabbatical before returning to work in the environmental movement. Cox presided over a period of exceptional growth in Greenpeace, helping launch an oceans campaign in 2006, a tar sands campaign in 2007 and, more recently, the highly successful Arctic campaign.

Greenpeace was founded in Vancouver in 1971, when a crew of 12 sailed to Amchitka, Alaska intent on shutting down U.S. underground nuclear tests there. Although a bomb was still detonated, the daring trip sparked global condemnation and nuclear testing ended shortly thereafter. The island was later declared a bird sanctuary.

Today, Greenpeace promotes science-based solutions for the planet with the support of 2.8 million supporters worldwide. Greenpeace Canada has offices in Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal, as well as staff based in Yellowknife, Sherbrooke, Quebec City and Halifax.