Greenpeace USA Announces New Executive Director, Phil Radford

Greenpeace USA today announced that Phil Radford, well-known among a new generation of environmental leaders for his grassroots organizing achievements, will serve as its next executive director.

PhilRadford, who joined Greenpeace in 2003, was responsible for launching Greenpeace’s Frontline program, which nearly doubled the size of the organization’s annual budget to $30 million and dramatically boosted its membership. During his tenure, Radford also launched otherinitiatives, including a student organizing program and a pioneering online-to-offline team that mobilizes Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter users to participate in Greenpeace’s trademark peaceful direct actions.Radford’s appointment was announced first to the organization’s onlineTwitter supporters. 

“Phil Radford has helped make Greenpeace more robust, morepowerful, and more technologically savvy,” said Greenpeace Inc. Board Chair Donald Ross. “This is not your father’s environmental movement.”

In March, Radford’s team used those online networks to helprecruit more than 2,000 activists to risk arrest in Washington, DC at aprotest against the use of coal at the U.S. Capitol’s power plant. Inanticipation of the event, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Harry Reid announced that they would switch the power plant to cleanernatural gas.

"For bold ideas to win on the climate crisis in Congress andboardrooms, we need thousands of courageous people to put themselves on the line for the Earth,” said Greenpeace Fund Board Chair David Chatfield. “Phil knows how to put ideas and people together forchange."

Before joining Greenpeace, Radford founded Power Shift, anon-profit organization dedicated to creating clean energy marketbreakthroughs. As executive director, he worked with the cities of SanDiego, Chula Vista, Berkeley, and others to secure solar and energyefficiency investments for municipal buildings. He also won acommitment from Citigroup to offer and market energy efficientmortgages to make solar and wind power affordable for American homeowners.

Radford said he’s committed to drawing on that work to continue Greenpeace’s collaboration with major corporations on environmentalinnovations. He cited Greenpeace’s recent cooperation with Unilever,Coke, Pepsi and other companies to bring climate-friendly refrigeratorsto the U.S. market.

“You can either dance with corporations or dance on them,” Radfordsaid. “The more supporters we have, the more you’ll see even thebiggest polluters willing to waltz with us to solve global warming.”

Radford first became interested in organizing to protect theenvironment as a child growing up in a religious family in Chicago whena family member was stricken with cancer at the same time that toxic incinerators were in the headlines. Driven in part by his family’s conviction that “being a good person meant doing good things,” by thetime he entered high school, he was recruiting friends and neighbors to testify at hearings to shut the incinerators. After college, he honed his activism into organizing prowess through a fellowship with theGreen Corps organizing program.

Radford said that during his first years as executive director, hehopes to continue to grow Greenpeace’s grassroots power and help persuade President Obama and Congress to do what’s necessary to solveglobal warming.

“Greenpeace has a unique ability to inspire in people a sense oftheir own possibility to change the world,” Radford said. “It’s my jobto unleash that possibility so that together we can win big victoriesfor the planet.”

“For a young person, Phil is actually a veteran environmental organizer,” said Mike Clark, outgoing interim executive director. “Philembodies all the qualities we’ll need to win over the polluters:courage, youth, and a deep faith in the power of people to bring about real change.”

Greenpeace operates in more than 40 countries.

Radford is available for interviews this week. Contact GlennHurowitz at 202-552-1828 or Jane Kochersperger at 202-319-2493. Forphotos and videos, contact Tim Aubry at 202-319-2429.

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