Jamie Rappaport Clark, the chief executive officer and president of Defenders of Wildlife, addresses a hearing at the House Select Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee on Capitol Hill in December 2008.
By Robin Bravender
According to a report from POLITICO’s E&E News, it was revealed that Clark had created an environment of intimidation at the organization. This resulted in employees being afraid to question leadership and fearing sudden termination without warning.
The organization, whose goal is to safeguard wildlife and their habitats, let go of employees earlier this year, citing the current “economic and social climate.” There has also been a significant turnover rate among staff and a continuing conflict between management and a newly formed employee union in 2021.
According to a statement from the group, Clark will continue in her position as leader for 12 years while the board of directors searches for her successor.
“I have devoted my professional life to protecting the environment and I believe that, at this stage, I can make a bigger difference for wildlife by utilizing my passion, understanding, and skills in a new capacity,” stated Clark. “I am eager to concentrate my efforts and resources towards urgent conservation issues affecting endangered species and significant habitats, as well as mentoring the future generation of wildlife conservationists.”
Clark is a biologist by training who led the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service during the Clinton Administration. She first joined Defenders of Wildlife in 2004 and was named president and CEO
The organization underwent a change in leadership in 2011 with the retirement of Rodger Schlickeisen.
Mark Caylor, chair of the group’s board of directors, called Clark “an icon in the conservation movement” and said she will be “dearly missed.”
Under her leadership, the organization announced the establishment of a Center for Conservation Innovation and increased their on-the-ground operations to include the Northwest, Southeast, Texas, and New Mexico regions.
Clark has been among the highest-paid leaders of national environmental groups, according to an
Review of tax documents for nonprofit organizations by E&E News
According to the group’s latest tax report, Clark made a total of $599,128 in 2021, which encompasses her salary, bonus, and additional benefits.
“We extend our best wishes to Jamie as she embarks on her future plans, and eagerly anticipate establishing a cooperative partnership with her successor,” stated Ted Weber, speaking on behalf of the staff union’s bargaining committee at Defenders.