Oceana Elects New Leadership for Board of Directors, Simon Sidamon-Eristoff becomes Chairman

Sidamon-Eristoff to lead world’s largest international ocean conservation organization

Press Release Date: December 3, 2014

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: mmadina@oceana.org | tel.: Marta Madina

Washington, D.C. – Today, Oceana, the world’s largest organization focused solely on ocean conservation, announced its new chairman, Simon Sidamon-Eristoff of Washington, D.C. and other new officers for its board of directors, the organization’s governing body.  Comprised of 19 leaders in business, academia, philanthropy and the arts, Oceana’s board of directors has played a key role in the group’s many policy victories and its expansion from the Unites States to Central and South America, Europe and Asia – including the launch of Oceana campaigns in Brazil and the Philippines.

Sidamon-Eristoff, a lawyer with Kalbian Hagerty LLP in Washington, DC, replaces Dr. Kristian Parker, trustee of the Oak Foundation in Switzerland, as chairman of Oceana’s board of directors (Parker will remain on Oceana’s board). Sidamon-Eristoff previously served as secretary of the board, a post he held since 2008. He has been a member of Oceana’s board of directors since its merger with American Oceans Campaign in 2002 where he also served as a board member.

Sidamon-Eristoff has deep experience in working with national and international nonprofit organizations both as a board member and as a staff member. He currently serves as chairman of the board at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and sits on the boards of both the Sustainable Development Institute and American Friends of Georgia. In addition, he has served as a top attorney for the American Farmland Trust (where he was General Counsel for 12 years) and has also served as counsel for the Trust for Public Land and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.  Sidamon-Eristoff holds degrees from Princeton University and Columbia Law School.

Other New Officers

Valarie Van Cleave becomes vice chair of Oceana’s board, replacing James Sandler. Van Cleave previously served as treasurer of the board since 2010 and has been a board member since 2008. She most notably co-founded Oceana’s SeaChange Summer Party in Laguna Beach, CA and has co-chaired the event for all seven years of its existence. The fundraiser is the organization’s largest annual event and raises upwards of $1 million each year.

Maria Eugenia Girón, former CEO of the Spanish luxury brand Carrera y Carrera, steps into a new role as treasurer of the board, replacing Van Cleave. Girón has been a member of the board since 2006. 

James Sandler, of The Sandler Foundation in San Francisco, CA, becomes the secretary of Oceana’s board, replacing Sidamon-Eristoff. He previously served as vice chair of Oceana’s board of directors, a post he held since 2010. Sandler joined Ocean’s board of directors in 2002.

Keith Addis, co-founder of Industry Entertainment in Los Angeles, CA, remains as the president of Oceana’s board of directors, a position he has held since 2010. Previously, Addis served as both vice chair and chair of the board. He joined Oceana’s board of directors when it merged with American Oceans Campaign (AOC) in 2002. AOC was founded by Addis’s longtime friend and client, Ted Danson.

Oceana’s board includes 14 additional members: actors Ted Danson and Sam Waterston, renowned fisheries scientist Dr. Daniel Pauly, former Colombian President and Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General César Gaviria, Herbert M. Bedolfe, III, Sydney Davis, Loic Gouzer, Stephen P. McAllister, Michael Northrop, Dr. Kristian Parker, Susan Rockefeller, Heather Stevens, Diana Thomson and Rogier van Vliet.

Under the leadership of its board of directors, Oceana has secured dozens of victories for the world’s oceans, including securing a complete ban on bottom trawling in Belize, convincing the Chilean government to dramatically overhaul its fishing laws, putting an end to illegal driftnets in the Mediterranean Sea, and setting the stage for President Obama’s task force on seafood fraud and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing that was announced in 2014.

Oceana, under the new board of board of directors’ guidance, will continue its work to save the oceans and feed the world by winning policy victories that will rebuild fisheries in the world’s most productive fishing nations – just 30 countries deliver 90 percent of all the wild fish caught in the world. Oceana’s strategy will protect marine biodiversity and help insure food security for the 9 billion people expected to live on earth by 2050.