Mike Clarke to step down as RSPB Chief Executive


Mike Clarke, CEO of the RSPB, has announced his intention to step down during 2019, bringing to a close a 30-year career with the UK's largest nature conservation charity.

The change has been timed to enable the organisation to appoint a successor mid-way through the current trustee Chair's term of office, with a view to a new CEO being appointed by the time the society's AGM takes place in October 2019.

Mike Clarke commented: "I first joined the RSPB in 1972 and very soon became a volunteer, sparking my lifetime commitment to nature conservation. Now, after a long and very fulfilling career as an executive member of the team, it is time for me to step down and return to my roots, supporting the charity in other ways as both a member and volunteer once more.

"I was fortunate enough to be one of the society's first-ever Conservation Officers, and have been privileged to be its CEO since 2010. During my time at the RSPB, I have been lucky enough to play a role in establishing strong laws to protect threatened species and habitats across the UK and Europe, developing partnerships that have grown our impact on the ground, and building the evidence base for the state of nature in the UK and key sites for biodiversity worldwide. I am proud to be leaving the society with its highest level of support, which has grown to over 1.2 million members who share, with volunteers and staff, our commitment to save nature."

Kevin Cox, Chairman of the RSPB Council, added: "The RSPB owes a huge amount to Mike, from his time as a volunteer to his current position as CEO. During his 20-year tenure as a Board member, he has helped drive the society's growth and impact, more recently steering us with great care and thought through a challenging period of change for both the charity sector generally and for nature conservation.

"As our CEO, he has been instrumental in driving significant growth in membership, while modernising our mission to ensure we remain relevant in a changing world and fostering a new era of collaboration on behalf of nature conservation. When Mike hands over the reins, he will do so leaving the RSPB ready to take on the challenges of the future, as an organisation that is shaping conservation here in the UK and around the world. It is a legacy he should be proud of.

"Today's announcement ensures we will be able to secure a replacement in an orderly manner with continuity of leadership between myself, as Chair, and a new CEO. I am confident that we will find a Chief Executive who will build on Mike's contributions over these last four decades."