Dr Mike Clarke is the new Chief Executive of the RSPB
Speaking of his appointment, Mike Clarke is keen to pay tribute to his predecessor: "It's been a privilege to work closely with Sir Graham over the last 12 years. His contribution to the RSPB and nature conservation has been immense. The RSPB is in great shape to tackle the challenges the natural world faces, and let's not be under any illusion, they are huge."
Speaking of the timing of his appointment, Mike Clarke said: "My appointment coincides with a series of massive challenges facing the natural world. By 2010 international commitments to halt the decline of biodiversity should have been met — they haven't been, the losses continue. The twin challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change must be met by robust and urgent action from governments around the world; yet this ecological crisis coincides with the one of the biggest economic crises the world has seen. In the UK we are in the midst of a general election that will shape this country's future, politicians must rise to the challenge and show how they can cut wasteful expenditure that pollutes and damages the environment and invest in protecting nature and all the services it provides."
Mike Clarke is clear about the role the RSPB must play: "We have a great record of conservation success — our nature reserves and species recovery projects are making a real difference for an amazing array of wildlife. We have a great track record of fighting to protect the best places for nature and of making a constructive contribution to a wide range of policies affecting the natural world in the UK and overseas. Leading the RSPB is a special role — the dedicated staff and volunteers supported by over a million members are the reason for our success. The challenges facing the natural world are so great they require the combined might of all those who care working together. On the global scale we draw immense strength from being part of the BirdLife International partnership. I want the RSPB to be at the heart of renewal of our precious natural world, the stakes are high and I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Sir Graham Wynne reacted to the news of the appointment of Mike Clarke with delight: "Mike has come through a gruelling recruitment process with his vision for the RSPB and his passion for the natural world shining through. He's been at the sharp end of nature conservation for all of his career and his record of delivery is second to none; the RSPB will thrive under his leadership."
Dr Mike Clarke's passion for conservation of the natural world grew out of his childhood love of nature, combined with making a difference through teenage volunteering for Skomer Island National Nature Reserve, the Kent Wildlife Trust, Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory and the RSPB Medway Local Group. Dr Clarkes's scientific background encompasses post-graduate and professional experience of plant and animal ecology, soil science, geology, hydrology, and climate change.