Saturday, June 15, 2024

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation CEO Kris Sarri To Step Down


The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has announced that President and CEO Kris Sarri will step down, effective January 1st, 2023.

Sarri joined the foundation in 2016 “with a vision to bring America’s marine sanctuaries to the forefront of ocean and Great Lakes conservation in the U.S., centered around the many diverse communities and organizations critical to improving the well-being of these treasured places,” according to a foundation statement.

During her tenure, the foundation developed programs focused on wildlife conservation, underwater marine debris cleanup and habitat restoration as well as advocating for new and expanded sanctuaries, according to the announcement.

Sarri also launched the foundation’s first-ever corporate partnership program to support the National Marine Sanctuary System. The foundation’s budget has grown by over 30 percent, expanding resources to protect sanctuaries.

Sarri said:

“It is an honor to work with the dedicated team at the Foundation, NOAA and Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, and in the dozens of communities nationwide that dedicate themselves to improving and expanding our nation’s system of marine sanctuaries. These are talented and dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to protect our ocean and Great Lakes.

“We are at a critical juncture in addressing the growing threats to our ocean and Great Lakes. Working collaboratively with diverse stakeholders, building partnerships for conservation, and continuing to engage the public in our mission is more important now than ever. As caretakers, educators, and members of sanctuary communities, the staff and Trustees of the Foundation make invaluable contributions. It has been my privilege to work with all of them, and I feel immense pride in the strides we’ve made together.”

The foundation’s board has appointed a CEO search committee that with help from an external company will identify candidates for the position, according to Mark McDade, co-chair of the organization’s board of trustees.

Fellow co-chair Susie Kondracki said:

“Kris accomplished a remarkable amount for the Foundation in the past six years. She created a vision for the Foundation, and working with staff, the Board of Trustees, NOAA, and partners transformed the Foundation into an effective voice for protecting our ocean and Great Lakes through national marine sanctuaries. We will miss her passion and leadership and wish her the very best for the future.”


John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.