April 14, 2009

Greenpeace USA Announces New Executive Director, Phil Radford

33-Year-Old Organizing Phenomenon Helped Double Group's Size

WASHINGTON, April 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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.

Radford, 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 other initiatives, 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 online Twitter supporters.

" Phil Radford has helped make Greenpeace more robust, more powerful, 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 help recruit more than 2,000 activists to risk arrest in Washington, DC at a protest against the use of coal at the U.S. Capitol's power plant. In anticipation of the event, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Harry Reid announced that they would switch the power plant to cleaner natural gas.

"For bold ideas to win on the climate crisis in Congress and boardrooms, 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 for change."

Before joining Greenpeace, Radford founded Power Shift, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating clean energy market breakthroughs. As executive director, he worked with the cities of San Diego, Chula Vista, Berkeley, and others to secure solar and energy efficiency investments for municipal buildings. He also won a commitment from Citigroup to offer and market energy efficient mortgages 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 environmental innovations. He cited Greenpeace's recent cooperation with Unilever, Coke, Pepsi and other companies to bring climate-friendly refrigerators to the U.S. market.

"You can either dance with corporations or dance on them," Radford said. "The more supporters we have, the more you'll see even the biggest polluters willing to waltz with us to solve global warming."

Radford first became interested in organizing to protect the environment as a child growing up in a religious family in Chicago when a 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 the time 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 the Green Corps organizing program.

Radford said that during his first years as executive director, he hopes to continue to grow Greenpeace's grassroots power and help persuade President Obama and Congress to do what's necessary to solve global warming.

"Greenpeace has a unique ability to inspire in people a sense of their own possibility to change the world," Radford said. "It's my job to unleash that possibility so that together we can win big victories for the planet."

"For a young person, Phil is actually a veteran environmental organizer," said Mike Clark, outgoing interim executive director. "Phil embodies all the qualities we'll need to beat 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.

SOURCE Greenpeace