NRDC Announces Leadership Transition

Rhea Suh to step down as president; will remain in position through June to ensure seamless transition

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) announced today that Rhea Suh is stepping down as president on June 30, 2019, after four transformative years leading the organization. Suh will remain in her current role over the coming months to support the institution’s transition to new leadership.

During her tenure, Suh served as the architect of an ambitious organization-wide strategic plan to chart NRDC’s course for the future. The plan, launched last year, marshals NRDC’s unique combination of skills—in law, science, policy, and advocacy—to build the public engagement needed for a new era of environmental activism and to drive transformational, enduring, and positive environmental solutions into the future.

Suh’s vision led NRDC to deepen and expand its focus on engaging with partners to protect vulnerable communities that often are the most impacted by pollution and the effects of climate change. Suh created NRDC’s Safe Drinking Water Initiative, which launched NRDC’s successful legal fight to replace lead pipes in Flint, Michigan, and has spurred a series of additional efforts to protect people’s drinking water across America.  She has also overseen a series of bold new NRDC initiatives to expand clean energy and climate resilience policies in cities across the country.

Under Suh’s leadership, NRDC has led a staunch legal resistance against President Trump’s assault on critical climate, environmental, and public health protections. In the past two years, NRDC has filed nearly 80 cases against the Trump Administration and its disregard for environmental and human health safeguards. NRDC earned victories in 22 out of the 26 cases that have been resolved to date.

“It has been an honor to lead NRDC over the past four incredible years,” said Suh. “Working with colleagues who are dedicated to the organization’s mission and to protecting our planet has been deeply inspiring. NRDC’s staff, members, online activists, and partners are all focused on the mission of safeguarding the earth so that our children inherit a planet that sustains them in the future. I am proud of our achievements during my tenure and look forward to watching and continuing to lend my support to what NRDC will achieve next.”

“On behalf of the Board and everyone at NRDC, we would like to thank Rhea for her many contributions,” said Alan Horn, Chair of NRDC’s Board of Trustees. “Rhea’s strategic vision and savvy has been an enormous asset not only to NRDC, but to the global environmental movement. Under her leadership, NRDC has made its voice heard during critical moments in our country’s fight to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. Rhea has been a fierce and effective advocate for the environment and public health throughout her career. I’ve enjoyed working with her these past 12 months as Board Chair and consider her a friend. We are grateful we will continue to benefit from her insight and guidance.”

NRDC’s Board will commence a search for its next leader in the coming weeks, with the support and insights of Suh and the staff of NRDC.

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Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​