The National Forest Foundation (NFF) appointed Rob Leary as its new Chairman of the Board, effective April 10.

Bob Wheeler, president and CEO of Airstream, Inc. and executive committee member, will become Vice-Chair. Outgoing chair, Patricia Hayling Price, will remain on the organization’s Executive Committee.

“The public lands we steward compromise 8.5 percent of all land in the United States,” said Patricia Hayling Price, president of Liveworkstrategize LLC and outgoing chair of the NFF.  She added, “These lands ensure abundant clean water and wildlife habitat, sequester carbon, support communities, and offer unparalleled recreational opportunities for all. As the NFF elevates the focus on diversity and inclusion in our mission, Rob’s extensive leadership experience, as well as his dedication to conservation and health of our forests, will be crucial to the Board, and I am excited to work with him on the organization’s next phase of growth.”

Leary, formerly the CEO of The Olayan Group and Nuveen has served as an NFF Executive Committee Member for one year. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Intact Financial Corporation, Citizens Financial Group and has served on the board of nonprofits focusing on education, environment and humanitarian aid.

“Our changing climate is exacerbating impacts – larger and hotter wildfires are the norm leading to sedimentation increases in rivers, creeks and streams, invasive species shift forest and grassland ecosystems out of balance, and communities that depend on healthy forests for recreation and forest products often find a critical economic resource in peril,” said Leary. “The National Forest Foundation is the only nonprofit conservation organization that has solely dedicated itself to restoring these public lands for today’s and future generations, and I am humbled and proud to serve as its board chair.”

Photo courtesy visit Asheville, NC, Pisgah National Forest