Pacific Environment’s Executive Director to Join Major Foundation

Date: March 13, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO—After seven years as Executive Director of Pacific Environment, a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization, David Gordon has accepted the position of Senior Program Officer for Environmental Programs at the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation in Minnesota. He will assume his new role November 1st.

David Gordon’s career in environmental advocacy began in the Pacific Northwest.  He joined Pacific Environment in 1992. He is well known for his deep expertise on Russian environmental issues and his commitment to environmental causes around the Pacific Rim. In 2003, David was appointed Executive Director of Pacific Environment, where he established the organization as a leading and internationally recognized environmental powerhouse. Under his leadership, the organization has successfully supported environmental initiatives and promoted civil society and environmental justice in Russia, China, Alaska, California, and the sphere of global responsible finance.

Pacific Environment’s Acting Chair of the Board, Deborah Chapman, congratulated David in the following statement:

“Under David’s leadership as executive director, Pacific Environment has achieved numerous global-scale victories for the environment. He has led the organization with passion and dedication and guided Pacific Environment to robust growth in scope, effectiveness, and capacity since its founding 23 years ago.”

David has guided a small team of staff scattered around the North Pacific, leading with wise insight and vision and proving that modest resources are no barrier to great impact. While we are sad to say goodbye to David, we know he will have success in his new endeavors.”

In the last decade, David helped create Pacific Environment’s Alaska and California programs to conserve marine habitat and promote the use of renewable energy instead of fossil fuels. David has shown insightful leadership on emerging Arctic issues and has participated in international initiatives to combat climate change. He has established Pacific Environment as a respected international voice drawing attention to threats to biodiversity and habitat loss.

To ensure a smooth transition, the Board has selected former Pacific Environment Russia Program Director Leah Zimmerman as Interim Executive Director, effective immediately. For over five years, Leah led Pacific Environment’s largest campaigns and implemented strategies aimed at developing civil society in the Russian Far East and Siberia through a grassroots environmental movement. She is a graduate of Yale University.

Concurrent with Leah’s tenure will be an international search to identify and hire a permanent Executive Director. Staff members, many of whom have worked together for over 15 years, will support this transition and ensure a continuation of Pacific Environment’s success. As a team, board and staff will together move ahead on the important initiatives and opportunities for the organization as it enters its 24th year. Interviews with Leah Zimmerman may be scheduled on request.

About Pacific Environment

Pacific Environment ( is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco that protects the living environment of the Pacific Rim by promoting grassroots activism, strengthening communities, and reforming international policies. For over two decades, we have partnered with local communities around the Pacific Rim to protect and preserve the ecological treasures of this vital region. Please visit to learn more about our work.