Oceana Names New Chairman, Officers and Board Member | Oceana

Oceana Names New Chairman, Officers and Board Member

Press Release Date: September 30, 2009

Location: Washington, DC


Anna Baxter | email: abaxter@oceana.org
Anna Baxter

Oceana announced today that Keith Addis has become the new Chairman of its Board of Directors, succeeding Oceana’s long-time Chairman Herbert “Beto” Bedolfe III.  Oceana board member Dr. Kristian Parker will become Vice Chairman (succeeding Addis), Simon Sidamon-Eristoff will remain as Secretary and board member James Sandler will take over Sidamon-Eristoff’s duties as Treasurer of Oceana.  Oceana also announced that Valarie Whiting has joined its Board of Directors.

“Keith Addis will be a great Chairman,” said Andrew F. Sharpless, CEO of Oceana.  “He’s smart, talented and strategic and can really help us – through his experience and relationships – to make good decisions about how to win campaigns and also to how to make oceans a more top-of-mind issue in Hollywood and everywhere else we work.”  Addis is the co-founder of Industry Entertainment, a leading management and production company.  He is also a longtime environmentalist.

“I’m honored to become Oceana’s Chairman and to succeed Beto Bedolfe who has been a great leader and who deserves so much credit for Oceana’s impressive growth and effectiveness,” said Addis.  “We’re facing incredibly challenging issues, but Oceana is becoming an even more successful and influential organization in response to some of the most daunting problems that threaten our oceans.  We’ve won major victories, brought concerned citizens together here and around the world,  and have attracted strong financial support from Oceana ‘investors’ who appreciate its policy of carefully picking its battles-and winning them.  I’m excited about working with Kristian, Jim, Simon and the rest of the board – to provide the guidance necessary for us to help Oceana build on this momentum.  The science is clear – we don’t have a lot of time left.  We need to turn things around for our oceans right now.”

Prior to joining Oceana’s board, Addis was the Chairman of the American Oceans Campaign (AOC).  Under his leadership, AOC – founded by Addis’ longtime friend and client Ted Danson – achieved victories on key marine issues including bottom trawling and offshore oil drilling.  AOC merged with Oceana is 2001.

“I’ve known Keith for over 20 years,” said board member Ted Danson. “Not only is he a great friend, he is an amazing talent.  He was instrumental in making AOC – in its later years – so successful.  I am 100% confident that he will do great things for Oceana and the oceans.”

Addis follows in the footsteps of Herbert “Beto” Bedolfe III as Chairman.  Bedolfe, the executive director of the Marisla Foundation, was one of Oceana’s founders and led the organization from 2002 until 2008.  Under his leadership, Oceana’s efforts led to many victories for the oceans including the protection of over 640 million acres of ocean habitat from destructive bottom trawling, the commitment by the world’s second largest cruise line to stop dumping inadequately treated sewage and wastewater into the ocean and, just this summer, a decision by the European Union to shut down illegal driftnetters and thereby potentially save up to 25,000 juvenile bluefin tuna from being caught just when scientists are predicting that this historic fishery is on the verge of collapse.

“I am so proud of what Oceana has become and what it has been able to do for the oceans,” said Bedolfe.  “I can’t wait to see what Oceana will do next.” Bedolfe will remain on Oceana’s Board of Directors.

Dr. Kristian Parker becomes Oceana’s Vice Chair.  Parker, who along with Bedolfe was a member of Oceana’s founding Board of Directors, is a trustee of the Oak Foundation, based in Switzerland, and oversees Oak’s environment program.  Parker is also a marine biologist and received his Ph.D. in environmental sciences from Duke University.  James Sandler of the Sandler Foundation will become Oceana’s Treasurer.  Mr. Sandler was also a member of Oceana’s founding Board of Directors and is in charge of the Sandler Foundation’s environmental giving.  Simon Sidamon-Eristoff, a lawyer with the tax-exempt organizations group at Kalbian Hagerty LLP in Washington, DC, will remain Secretary of Oceana.  Sidamon-Eristoff formerly served on the AOC board with Addis and Danson.

Valarie Whiting will join the Oceana board.  Whiting, of Laguna Beach, California, recently helped to create the “SeaChange” event in Orange County, which raised more than $800,000 for Oceana and ocean conservation and was one of the biggest environmental fundraisers ever in Orange County.  Her business career encompasses work in mergers and acquisitions, sales and marketing and new business development. Whiting has also served on numerous committees and boards.

“We are very glad to have Valarie Whiting join our board of directors,” added Sharpless. “She is a creative person and a real leader.  In less than a year, she conceived, organized and executed – with her co-chair Julie Hill and their many volunteers – the most successful fundraising event in Oceana’s history.  We can’t wait to see what she will do for Oceana and the oceans next.”

Whiting joins Oceana’s other directors, who in addition to Addis, Bedolfe, Parker, Sandler, Sidamon Eristoff, and Danson include: actor Sam Waterston, renowned fisheries scientist Dr. Daniel Pauly, Spanish businesswoman María Eugenia Girón, former Organization of American States Secretary General and ex-President of Colombia César Gaviria, philanthropist Sally-Christine Rogers, businessman Steve McAllister and Michael Northrop of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.