Trout Unlimited Announces Succession Plan

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Erin Mooney, National Press Secretary (703) 284-9408,

Trout Unlimited Announces Succession Plan

Chris Wood named CEO of nations largest coldwater conservation organization

Arlington, Va.–Trout Unlimited (TU), the nation’s leading coldwater fisheries conservation organization, announced that Chris Wood, currently TU’s Chief Operating Officer, will become Chief Executive Officer on February 1. He will succeed Charles Gauvin, who has been TU’s CEO since 1991.

Trout Unlimited’s board of trustees approved the succession plan at its meeting last week in Washington, D.C. The goal of the succession plan is to ensure that TU continues to execute its mission of protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon and their watersheds.

“Charles Gauvin and Chris Wood are two of the nation’s finest conservation leaders,” said Oakleigh Thorne, chair of TU’s board of trustees. “It is a testament to the organization’s strength that we can select a new leader from within the staff and not have to look outside,” Thorne said.

Gauvin will join TU’s board of trustees and will serve as senior counsel.

“TU is the nation’s most effective conservation organization,” Gauvin said. Its work in securing water flows, organizing sportsmen to protect public lands, and restoring degraded river systems is without peer, and I am proud of the role I played over the past two decades in helping to build it into what it is today.”
When Gauvin was named CEO in 1991 at the age of 34, TU’s budget was $2.5 million and it had approximately 50,000 members. There was just one staff person who worked on conservation issues. Under Gauvin’s leadership, the organization has grown to 140,000 members with an operating budget in excess of $26 million and a professional staff of over 130.

Thorne said, “Charles Gauvin built TU into the conservation powerhouse that it is today. The board, the membership and the staff owe him an extraordinary debt of gratitude for his work and service.”

Wood came to TU in 2001 after serving as the senior policy and communications advisor to U.S. Forest Service chief Mike Dombeck during the Clinton administration. Since arriving at TU, Wood has helped form partnerships to clean up abandoned mines with companies such as Tiffany&Co. and worked with various sportsmen organizations to protect iconic landscapes such as the Wyoming Range and Idaho’s backcountry roadless areas.

Wood graduated from Middlebury College and lives and coaches Little League baseball in Washington D.C. He and his wife, Betsy, have three sons, Wylie, Casey and Henry Trace.

“I will continue to work with Chris by helping raise resources for key elements of the TU strategic plan,” said Gauvin. “Chris played a leading role in developing the plan and positioning TU for the growth required to implement the plan. I’m pleased that I will be able to play a supporting role as Chris prepares to take TU to the next level,” Gauvin stated.

Trout Unlimited is North America’s leading coldwater fisheries conservation organization, with more than 140,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting, and restoring North America’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.