Greenpeace UK appoints new joint executive directors

Greenpeace UK has announced the appointment of Areeba Hamid and Will McCallum as its new joint executive directors.

The environmental group said that for the first time in its history the role as head of the organization would be jointly held.

Hamid and McCallum will take over from interim executive director Pat Vendetti in October, who took on the role of executive director on a temporary basis after John Sauven stepped down earlier this year.

Hamid is currently a global finance program director at The Sunrise Project, a global network focused on building campaigns to end financial support for fossil fuels. She is also a board member of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Migrants.

Previously, Hamid has worked at senior levels in several Greenpeace offices around the world. She has campaigned to halt climate breakdown throughout her career, including by supporting marine conservation, halting coal expansion in India and palm oil-driven rainforest destruction in Indonesia, and getting banks to end the financing of tar sands projects in North America.

Born in India, she will be the first woman and first person of color to lead Greenpeace in the UK.

As head of Oceans at Greenpeace since 2015, McCallum has been leading an international campaign to secure a Global Oceans Treaty and create ocean sanctuaries in international and national waters, including forcing the UK government to act on destructive fishing in Marine Protected Areas.

Previously, he oversaw the launch of the first major Greenpeace UK campaign on plastic and as an activist inside and outside of Greenpeace McCallum has campaigned on a range of issues including fracking, coal, oil sponsorship of the arts, and equality.

McCallum authored the book How to Give Up Plastic, which was published by Penguin in 2018 and has since been translated into 12 languages. He is on the board of Kaleidoscope Trust, an LGBT+ rights organisation.

“Areeba and Will are both smart, brave, dynamic campaigners with a fantastic track record of running campaigns that have made a real difference,” said Andrew McParland, chair of the Greenpeace UK’s board. “As the impacts of the climate emergency escalate all around us, we need a new, compelling vision for how Greenpeace UK can achieve the change we so badly need – Areeba and Will have shown they have that vision.”

Hamid said they were taking on the new role at a critical time for the environmental movement. “Time is short and hope can feel hard to summon, but the movement is filled with courageous people – inside and outside of Greenpeace – who inspire Will and I to feel that change is not only possible, but inevitable,” she said.

McCallum added that “the world right now can feel like a scary place, [but] We believe Greenpeace’s responsibility is to present solutions that cut through the doom and gloom and show that creating a green and peaceful world in which everyone can thrive is possible.


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