Ocean Conservancy

Vikki Spruill to Serve in New Leadership Role for Philanthropic Community

Vikki Spruill will leave her post this summer to serve in a new leadership role for the philanthropic community as the President and CEO for the Council on Foundations, effective July 1, 2012.

Media Contact: 
David Willett, Director, Strategic Communications and Marketing
Telephone: (202) 351-0482
Email: dwillett@oceanconservancy.org 

March 29, 2012

Washington, DC - The following statement is from Curtis Bohlen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ocean Conservancy:

"Vikki Spruill, who has served as President and CEO of Ocean Conservancy since December 2006, will leave her post this summer to serve in a new leadership role for the philanthropic community as the President and CEO for the Council on Foundations, effective July 1, 2012.

"Vikki has dedicated a significant portion of her professional life to protecting the ocean and the wildlife and livelihoods that it supports, a passion that was ignited during her years growing up on the Gulf coast.  While she will be greatly missed at Ocean Conservancy, under her strategic and poised leadership, our 40-year-old organization is more relevant, focused and stronger than ever before.  This is a wonderful opportunity for Vikki to have a widespread impact across the philanthropic sector, of which support for our planet's incredible natural resources is of paramount importance.

"Under Vikki's leadership, Ocean Conservancy has made great strides in protecting our ocean ecosystem through scientific rigor, stronger conservation policies and public engagement. Key achievements include:

  • When the explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig and the subsequent well blowout generated the largest accidental marine oil discharge in history, Vikki mobilized Ocean Conservancy’s resources to play a leading role in ensuring effective assessment and restoration of damage to the Gulf of Mexico’s natural resources. Ocean Conservancy was part of a broad-based coalition and bipartisan effort that led to Senate passage of the RESTORE Act last month – a key step in directing essential funding to help the Gulf ecosystem and communities secure a healthy and sustainable future.
  • Vikki led the transformation of Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup – the world's largest volunteer effort for the ocean – from an annual event to a year-round effort for Trash Free Seas that identifies solutions and builds partnerships with industry, government, science and conservation leaders.
  • Ocean Conservancy’s 10-year campaign to establish a statewide network of marine protected areas along the California coast through the state’s landmark ocean protection law, the Marine Life Protection Act, made tremendous progress during Vikki's tenure. These underwater parks ensure that iconic ocean areas like Point Lobos, La Jolla and the Farallon Islands will be safeguarded as carefully as any Yellowstone or Yosemite on land. These designations will also help ensure a sustainable future for the many jobs that rely on a healthy ocean.
  • Other major milestones to protect the ocean achieved during Vikki’s time at the helm of Ocean Conservancy include: for the U.S. Arctic, ensuring additional science to inform decisions about uses of the outer continental shelf, stronger oil spill prevention and spill response capacity for offshore oil drilling, and better protection for critical habitats and other important ecological areas in Arctic waters; for the Gulf of Mexico, approval of fishery management council plans that end overfishing and require science-based management going forward; and for the nation, encouraging President Obama and his Administration to initiate a forward-looking national ocean policy and coastal and marine spatial planning to protect ecosystems and the livelihoods they support.
  • By mobilizing more than half a million volunteers and members each year, Vikki's efforts to build significant public support for ocean health will continue to impact policymakers' decisions and make science-based conservation a priority.

"Vikki will continue as our leader through mid-June. The Board of Directors has started a search to identify and recruit her successor. The Board is confident that the dynamic organization built by Vikki over the last six years will emerge from the transition stronger than ever, thanks to the talented executive team she leaves behind who together have 113 years of leadership in conservation. The organization remains steadfast in its commitment to protect ocean ecosystems for the benefit of coastal communities and future generations and to empower citizens to take action to promote effective ocean policy."


The Council on Foundations is a membership organization representing the most respected and influential foundations in the world.  With nearly 1,800 members, the Council advocates for public policy that promotes philanthropy and provides services to help the membership achieve greater impact.

Ocean Conservancy educates and empowers citizens to take action on behalf of the ocean. From the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico to the halls of Congress, Ocean Conservancy brings people together to find solutions for our water planet. Informed by science, our work guides policy and engages people in protecting the ocean and its wildlife for future generations.

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