Ocean Champions Announces New Board Leadership

Washington, D.C. – October 8, 2015 – As part of its expanding political influence on behalf of ocean conservation, Ocean Champions announced today that former Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) will serve as Chair of its Advisory Board. Longtime Board member and ocean leader Michael Sutton will take over as Board Chair.

Following a very successful election cycle in 2014, where 90 percent of Ocean Champions endorsed candidates won their elections and the organization lead the effort to defeat Ocean Enemy #1, Rep. Steve Southerland, Ocean Champions is well-positioned to engage in the 2016 cycle.

Ocean Champions recently established an Advisory Board of ocean and political leaders; expanding its reach into the business, political and non-profit sectors.  Former Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska) will Chair the Advisory Board, which includes Wendy Benchley, Philippe Cousteau, and David Rockefeller, Jr. A full list can be found here.

“I am excited to Chair the Advisory Board for Ocean Champions, and proud to serve with such an outstanding group of ocean leaders”, said Begich.  “In the Senate, I saw the critical role Ocean Champions played through the electoral and legislative process in protecting our oceans,” added Begich.

In addition to its electoral successes in the 2014 cycle, Ocean Champions had important legislative wins on Capitol Hill, including, laws that will tackle the growing problem of toxic algal blooms and holding strong laws that ensure sustainable fisheries in US waters.

Ocean Champions is also pleased to announce that long-time director, Michael Sutton, will assume the role of Board Chair as of the October 2015 board meeting.

“Having worked with the Ocean Champions Board and leadership since its inception, I’m thrilled this organization has grown in size and influence in Washington,” said Sutton.  “I’m excited to work with my fellow directors, advisors, and Ocean Champions leadership to continue to expand our impact on behalf of the oceans,” added Sutton.

Outgoing Board Chair, Samantha Campbell, has served on the Board since 2005 and led the Board since 2010. She oversaw the development of the political strategy that was so successful in the recent election, as well as the overall growth of the organization. “I am so proud to have served as Board Chair and will continue my strong support for Ocean Champions as it continues its mission to build political power for ocean conservation and to make ocean health a top legislative priority”, said Campbell.

“It has been fantastic working with Samantha. I appreciate her vision, insights and unwavering support. She has been an outstanding partner and leader”, said David Wilmot, Ph.D., President and Co-Founder of Ocean Champions.  “We welcome Mike’s leadership at this exciting time of growth. He has been with us since the very beginning and has a deep commitment to ocean conservation and full understanding of the importance of political engagement”, added Wilmot.