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MSC welcomes new Chair and Trustees

Update, 15 May 2023

“We have been deeply shocked by the sudden death of Hartwig Schafer, MSC’s Chair-Elect, who was due to take up the leadership of the MSC Board in late July 2023.  We were excited by his appointment as our new Chair and the immense experience and expertise he would bring to the MSC.  In the brief time we worked together, he had already begun to learn more about our organisation and the wider landscape in which we work, and our priorities and ambitions for the future.  We are profoundly saddened that we will not get to share our journey with him in the years ahead.  Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very sad time,” Rupert Howes, Chief Executive, MSC


Press release, 13 April 2023

Schafer becomes new Chair of MSC’s Board of Trustees, and Mikel Durham, Darian McBain, Eddy Njoroge, Sergio Espejo Yaksic, and Birgit Cameron take up seats on MSC’s Board of Trustees 

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Board of Trustees has appointed Dr Hartwig (Hart) Schafer as its new Chair.  Dr Schafer joins the Board immediately and will take up his role as Chair in late July 2023, when the current Chairman, Dr Werner Kiene, retires after a decade leading the MSC Board.  In addition, following several retirements, five new Trustees will join MSC’s Board. 

Hart Schafer has over 30 years’ experience in key strategic positions with the World Bank and the European Union.  He is an internationally recognised, solution-oriented strategist with a track record of impacting and improving livelihoods and inclusion. He is an Agricultural Economist (Dipl.-Ing. agr. Justus Liebig Universitaet Giessen) and holds a PhD in Economics from North Carolina State University. Throughout his career, Schafer has worked extensively on sustainability issues, including through global programs such as ProFish and ProBlue that support the protection and sustainable use of marine and coastal resources in healthy oceans.  

Most recently, Schafer served as the World Bank’s Vice President for the South Asia Region overseeing a portfolio of close to US$60 billion in development projects and programs across the region.  Prior to this, he was Vice President for Global Themes where he led the World Bank Group’s engagement across a range of corporate priority areas, including climate change.  In an earlier role as Vice President for Operations Policy and Country Services, Schafer led the renewal of the World Bank’s Environmental & Social Standards, which are now applied to all Bank projects across the globe.  Previously, he held several Country Director roles in Africa and in the Middle East, and as Director for Strategy and Operations in the Sustainable Development Network. 

“I am delighted to serve as the Chair of MSC’s Board of Trustees given the organisation’s important mission and the program’s indispensable contribution to healthy and sustainable oceans”, said Dr Schafer. “I am pleased to be appointed at such a vital stage of the MSC’s development and I will harness my experience with mission-driven organisations to help the MSC realise its vision of seafood supplies safeguarded for future generations.  I look forward to working with the MSC’s Board, management, staff, governance bodies, partners and all stakeholders over the coming years.” 

Werner Kiene, welcoming Dr Schafer to the role, said, “As a multi-stakeholder collaboration of business and conservation interests, committed to working with the market to promote and reward sustainable fisheries through economic incentives, the MSC makes an important contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.  What began as a small but ambitious program, has flourished and grown over 25 years into the real catalyst for change in the seafood market we see today. 

“I have been honoured to serve the MSC as Board Member and Chair, and I am delighted that Hart has sought this role and recognises our program’s crucial part in safeguarding ocean health.  As I retire from the Board, I would like to pay tribute to the Board members with whom I have served over the past decade, as well as the MSC’s Executive team and staff, who have provided invaluable counsel and support to me throughout my time as Chairman.”  

Rupert Howes, MSC Chief Executive, said: “Werner Kiene has been Chair of the MSC Board for 10 years. Werner is a true statesman. The insights and integrity that he has brought to the MSC have been invaluable. I have very much enjoyed working with him and I will miss him greatly when he steps down. Under his leadership, the MSC has been through some significant milestones and events, including the development of two strategic plans, two Fisheries Standard Reviews, a Chain of Custody Standard Review, and all the uncertainties of a global pandemic.  

“We are fortunate that, as we move forward to deliver our new strategic plan and transition to the next stage of our evolution as an organisation, Hart Schafer has accepted this important role. I am also delighted to welcome our new Board Members, and I look forward to working with Hart and our diverse Board of Trustees in the delivery of MSC’s strategic ambitions.” 

New members bring new perspectives  

Four new Trustees will join the MSC’s Board in July 2023. These important appointments will ensure that the MSC Board of Trustees continues to encompass a wide range of experience and expertise as it sets the strategic direction of the organisation.  

The new Members are: 

  • Ms Mikel Durham – based in the USA, Ms Durham has led food and beverage businesses globally for over 25 years, and nurtured brands such as Naked Juice, Pepsi, Guinness, Cadbury, amongst others. She currently serves as a Board Director of Tyson Foods; she was previously the Chief Executive of American Seafoods, Chair of the Genuine Alaskan Pollock Association and Vice Chair of Good 360, the global leader in product philanthropy. 

  • Dr Darian McBain – based in Singapore, Dr McBain is Chief Executive of OCSO Asia, and Visiting Professor in Practice for the London School of Economics & Political Science. She also chairs Be Slavery Free, an anti-modern slavery non-profit, and the Global Dialogue for Seafood Traceability management board. She previously worked as Managing Director, Corporate Affairs & Sustainability for Thai Union, and as Chief Sustainability Officer for the Monetary Authority of Singapore.  Dr McBain is a former member of MSC’s Stakeholder Advisory Council. 

  • Mr Edward (Eddy) Njoroge – based in Kenya, Mr Njoroge serves as Chair of Telkom Kenya and was the Chairman of Nairobi Securities Exchange, as well as on several other boards.  He is the President of Upper Tana Nairobi Water Fund set up by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to conserve the Nairobi water source.  Mr Njoroge was the President of the International Standardization Organization (ISO) in 2020-21.   

  • Dr Sergio Espejo Yaksic – based in Chile, Dr Espejo Yaksic is a former politician, who served during his career in several senior roles in the Chilean government, including as Minister for Transport and Telecommunications.  He is now Chief Executive Officer of Inmobiliaria Las Lilas Corporation, Senior Consultant at Vital Comunicaciones, and a Board Member of Fundación COANIL. 

In addition, from July 2024 Ms Birgit Cameron will join the Board.  Based in the USA, Ms Cameron was a Co-Founder of Patagonia Provisions, a division of Patagonia, Inc. the outdoor clothing company, and its Chief Executive until 2022.  She is now Senior Advisor to Align-e Capital and a Board Member of Atomo Beanless Coffee.