CEO Note: Simon Sidamon-Eristoff Becomes Chairman of Oceana’s Board | Oceana

I am writing to you to introduce our new chairman for Oceana’s board of directors, Simon Sidamon-Eristoff, and other new board leaders. 

Our board of directors develops all strategy, budgets, and direction for Oceana’s campaigns around the world. Comprised of 19 leaders in business, academia, philanthropy, and the arts, the board has overseen the organization’s international expansion from the Unites States to Central and South America, Europe, and Asia — including Oceana’s latest openings in Brazil and the Philippines earlier this year.

Simon Sidamon-Eristoff, a lawyer with Kalbian Hagerty LLP in Washington, D.C., replaces Dr. Kristian Parker, trustee of the Oak Foundation in Switzerland, as chairman of Oceana’s board of directors. (Parker will remain on Oceana’s board). Sidamon-Eristoff previously served as secretary of the board, a post he held since 2008.

Sidamon-Eristoff has deep experience in working with national and international nonprofit organizations both as a board member and as a staff member. He currently serves as chairman of the board at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and sits on the boards of both the Sustainable Development Institute and American Friends of Georgia. In addition, he’s served as a top attorney for the American Farmland Trust, where he was General Counsel for 12 years, and has also served as counsel for the Trust for Public Land and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. Sidamon-Eristoff holds degrees from Princeton University and Columbia Law School.

We also have several other new board officers. Valarie Van Cleave becomes vice chair of Oceana’s board, replacing James Sandler. Van Cleave previously served as treasurer of the board since 2010 and has been a board member since 2008. She most notably co-founded Oceana’s SeaChange Summer Party in Laguna Beach, California and has co-chaired the event for all seven years of its existence. The fundraiser is the organization’s largest annual event and raises upwards of $1 million each year.

María Eugenia Girón, former CEO of the Spanish luxury brand Carrera y Carrera, steps into a new role as treasurer of the board, replacing Van Cleave. Girón has been a member of the board since 2006. 

James Sandler, of The Sandler Foundation in San Francisco, Calif., becomes the secretary of Oceana’s board, replacing Sidamon-Eristoff. Sandler is a founding board member of Oceana.

Keith Addis, co-founder of Industry Entertainment in Los Angeles, Calif., remains as the president of Oceana’s board of directors, a position he has held since 2010. Before joining Oceana, Addis served as chairman of the American Oceans Campaign (AOC), an organization that merged to become Oceana in 2001. AOC was founded by Addis’s longtime friend and client, Ted Danson.

Oceana’s board is made up of 14 other members, including actors Ted Danson and Sam Waterston, renowned fisheries scientist Dr. Daniel Pauly, former Colombian President and Organization of American States Secretary General César Gaviria, Herbert M. Bedolfe III, Sydney Davis, Loic Gouzer, Stephen P. McAllister, Michael Northrop, Dr. Kristian Parker, Susan Rockefeller, Heather Stevens, Diana Thomson, and Rogier van Vliet.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our entire board of directors for their many years of service. Under their leadership, Oceana has grown to be the largest organization focused solely on ocean conservation. Our board has guided us to dozens of victories for the world’s oceans, like securing a complete ban on bottom trawling in Belize, convincing the Chilean government to dramatically overhaul its fishing laws, putting an end to illegal driftnets in the Mediterranean Sea, and paving the way for President Obama’s task force on seafood fraud and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing that was announced in 2014.

Our board currently oversees Oceana’s global mission to rebuild fisheries by winning policy victories in the world’s most productive fishing nations – just 30 countries deliver 90 percent of all the wild fish caught in the world. Oceana’s strategy will protect marine biodiversity and help insure food security for the 9 billion people expected to live on earth by 2050.

Please join me in welcoming our new board leadership. I look forward to working with them to protect and restore the world’s oceans.

For the oceans,
Andrew Sharpless
Chief Executive Officer