New ACF chief executive Kelly O’Shanassy

6 February 2014 — Kelly O’Shanassy has resigned as chief executive of Environment Victoria to become the new chief executive of the Australian Conservation Foundation.

It was today [Thursday] announced Ms O’Shanassy was stepping down from her role with Environment Victoria to replace long-serving ACF chief executive Don Henry, who recently announced he would be leaving effective from March.

“I’m thrilled to be joining such an influential organisation and an amazing team of people,” Ms O’Shanassy said. “For nearly 50 years, ACF has been synonymous with protecting Australia’s environment and the future of all Australians, and I look forward to continuing that legacy and building on the tremendous work of outgoing CEO Don Henry.

“I take on this role knowing there has never been a more important time for strong leadership for Australia’s environment.”

ACF president Professor Ian Lowe said the board was very excited to announce the appointment.

“Kelly joins us after an extremely impressive record as CEO of Environment Victoria,” Professor Lowe said.

“She brings to ACF the enormous respect she has earned at Environment Victoria and in previous senior roles in government and the private sector.

“Kelly’s appointment significantly underscores ACF’s commitment to its new strategic plan, with increased emphasis on collaboration and community engagement.”

Professor Lowe also praised the work of outgoing chief executive Don Henry.

“Don has given outstanding leadership since 1998, nearly one-third of ACF’s entire existence. He leaves it a much stronger and more influential organisation,” he said.

President of Environment Victoria Amanda Nuttall said Ms O’Shanassy had left a lasting legacy for Environment Victoria and had been pivotal in enhancing its reputation and performance.

“Under Kelly’s leadership, Environment Victoria stopped a new coal-fired power station, HRL, making it virtually impossible to build new coal in Victoria again; played a key role in the historic Murray-Darling Basin Plan to save our mighty Murray River; with the environment movement won a price on pollution for Australia; made recycling cheaper; and organised Australia’s largest rally for action on climate change,” Ms Nuttall said.

“We are happy that Kelly will continue her wonderful work campaigning for our environment, in her new role as chief executive officer of the Australian Conservation Foundation. We know what Kelly is capable of and will be watching her progress with much excitement.”

Ms O’Shanassy will commence her new position on 7 April, and recruitment for a new chief executive of Environment Victoria will begin immediately. Mark Wakeham, Environment Victoria’s campaigns director, will perform the role of acting chief executive until a new person is appointed.