Former Crist aide named new Everglades Foundation CEOby John Kennedy | April 25th, 2012
A former top aide to ex-Gov. Charlie Crist has been named the Everglades Foundation’s new chief executive officer.
Eric Eikenberg, who was chief-of-staff for Crist and, earlier, for former U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw, R-Fort Lauderdale, will lead the environmental advocacy organization beginning July 1. He succeeds Kirk Fordham, who announced last month he was leaving the Miami-based nonprofit to take a job as executive director of the Gill Action Fund, a leading gay rights advocacy organization.
“Eric impressed us from the first moment we met. He has a deep understanding of what it takes to achieve success both in Washington and Tallahassee and he has the leadership skills that will help the Foundation continue to be at the forefront of Everglades restoration,” said Paul Tudor Jones, II, Everglades Foundation chairman.
Since leaving Crist’s office, Eikenberg has been a senior policy advisor for the law firm, Holland & Knight. During his time in the governor’s office, Eikenberg was a central negotiator in forging a deal to buy 187,000 acres of land owned by U.S. Sugar, part of a plan to sharply reduce sugar production in the region and use the property for Everglades restoration.
Crist’s successor, Gov. Rick Scott, opposed the sale, and the South Florida Water Management District went forward with a scaled-back plan by acquiring 27,000 of sugar land. Scott last fall unveiled his own plan for moving forward with Everglades work. Environmentalists expect Scott to offer more refinements to his proposal in coming weeks.
“I am honored to join the Everglades Foundation as its next chief executive officer,” Eikenberg said. “The mission is simple: Save the Everglades. It is the source of water for more than 7 million Floridians and a driver of our economy. What we do now, will determine whether our generation leaves future generations with a vibrant, healthy, River of Grass.”