Ocean Conservancy appoints new leaders to address plastic pollution and protect the Arctic

Arctic scene

Media Contacts: 
Julia Roberson, jroberson@oceanconservancy.org, +1 202-351-0476
Adam Williams, awilliams@oceanconservancy.org, +1 202-656-8250

WASHINGTON, January 11, 2017 – Ocean Conservancy is pleased to announce the appointment of Susan Ruffo as the Managing Director of International Initiatives and Scott Highleyman as Vice President for Conservation Policy and Programs.

“Ocean Conservancy is delighted to welcome Susan Ruffo and Scott Highleyman to the team at a time when we are more resolved than ever to stay focused on our mission to protect our ocean against the tough challenges ahead,” said Andreas Merkl, CEO of Ocean Conservancy. “Ruffo and Highleyman bring a wealth of policy, campaign and international experience to Ocean Conservancy, and we look forward to their leadership in crafting new and innovative strategies to advance science-based conservation.” 

Ruffo will provide focused leadership to Ocean Conservancy’s growing international efforts, with an initial focus on our work to stop plastic pollution in the ocean through improved waste management in developing economies. She has over 15 years of experience developing and implementing strategies, shaping and executing government policies, and building partnerships on marine and terrestrial conservation, climate change resilience, and trade and development.  Most recently, Susan led the Vibrant Oceans portfolio for Bloomberg Philanthropies. She also served as the Associate Director for Climate Preparedness at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.  Susan has degrees in Economics and Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ruffo will be based in Seattle, Washington.

Highleyman will lead Ocean Conservancy’s growing work in the Arctic. He brings extensive experience in conservation work in both the U.S. and international Arctic. Highleymen led Pew’s International Arctic program in Canada, Greenland and the high seas for eight years. For three decades before joining Pew, Scott was a grassroots conservation leader in Alaska for rainforest and marine protection and founder of Wildhavens, a strategic consulting business. Scott holds a B.A. from Williams College and a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School at Madison. He is a member of the Alaska Bar Association and in 2014 was made a “Knight of Science and Arts” by the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences for US-Russia cooperation to protect the Central Arctic Ocean.  Highleyman will be based in Bellingham, Washington.

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