Greenpeace Executive Director Kumi Naidoo to Resign

Will step down by end of 2015

Kumi Naidoo has been executive director of Greenpeace International since 2009. (Wikimedia Commons)
Photo: Wikimedia Commons Annual Meeting 2011

Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo announced on Tuesday that he will step down from his post by the end of the year, according to a statement from the organization.

"Part of my plan is to return to South Africa and lend my support to the growing struggle for a just energy future,” Naidoo said in the statement. “My country is arguably facing one of the most pressing challenges since the end of apartheid. With the government putting as much as a trillion Rand (US$ 85 billion) on the table for Russian-built nuclear power plants, this would commit my country to a dangerous path that will do little to provide clean energy services to the roughly one-in-five South Africans who have no access to electricity.”

Naidoo has helmed the environmental advocacy group since 2009. During his tenure, he oversaw “the largest reorganization in Greenpeace’s 44-year history,” according to the group’s statement. As Outside reported in the April 2015 issue, Naidoo has "pushed for an ambitious restructuring to move people and money away from traditional European environmental strongholds to places like China, Brazil, and India."

In December 2014, Greenpeace activists entered a protected area near the Nazca Lines. The incident sparked international outrage. "Conservative media in Peru denounced the act as a violation of cultural heritage, and news outlets from the BBC to NBC followed," contributing editor Abe Streep wrote in his April 2015 feature. 

For more on Naidoo, read our April 2015 profile of the human-rights activist

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