After 15 years, Oil Change International (OCI) Founder and Executive Director Stephen Kretzmann has stepped down from his role as Executive Director. Stephen has long planned to leave in 2020.
Board Chair Thomas Cavanagh stated that, “Stephen Kretzmann accomplished something rare and remarkable by founding and building Oil Change International. Today, the organization has become a vital institution in the struggle for fossil fuel industry accountability and climate justice. Steve’s vision, tenacity, and dedication drove the creation of this widely respected organization. OCI is widely quoted not only in the press and movement circles, but also in boardrooms, legislative chambers, policy shops, international institutions, academia, and courtrooms. As our amazing staff says often, OCI is truly data driven and people powered.”
“The Board of Directors recognizes, honors, and thanks Steve for his leadership and relentless effort in building this critical organization. His three decades of experience, commitment, vision, and leadership on fossil fuels and climate will continue to serve him, and the movements in which we all operate, well,” said Leslie Harroun, a member of the Board of Directors.
The Board has selected Elizabeth Bast, who has served as Oil Change International’s Managing Director for 10 years, as OCI’s next Executive Director. Elizabeth has been a leader in international climate justice campaigning for the last 15 years. She joined OCI after leading the International Program at Friends of the Earth U.S. and serving on the Friends of the Earth International Executive Committee. Before taking on a larger organizational management role, she led OCI’s public finance work, and has played a key role in developing and shaping the organization’s strategies.
“We are delighted to elevate Elizabeth Bast from Managing Director to Executive Director. Her many years of outstanding financial management, experience as a personnel manager, and recognized leadership in the environmental and climate movements will serve her well in her new role. Throughout her time at Oil Change, her work advancing the organization’s vision in diverse ways has demonstrated committed leadership,” said Rebecca Solnit, author and OCI board member. She continued: “In challenging times, the board of Oil Change International is pleased to have the steady, reliable, and effective leadership of Elizabeth as our Executive Director.”
Sandra Smithey, program officer at the C.S. Mott Foundation, and a long time funder of Oil Change International, said, “Congratulations OCI! Selecting Elizabeth as the new Executive Director builds on her years of experience. She’s an exceptional campaigner with impressive data analysis skills, but more importantly she is dedicated to a just, clean energy transition for poor communities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.”
Today, Oil Change International has a global team of twenty, an annual budget of $3 million, hundreds of thousands of supporters, and a proven track record of insightful industry analysis, effective communications, and movement support. OCI is a leading voice in the growing global movement to stop the ongoing expansion of the fossil fuel industry, to directly challenge the power and influence of the fossil fuel industry, and to demand climate justice.
OCI’s current programs – Stop Funding Fossils, Energy Transitions and Futures, and the North American focused Stopping Carbon Lock-In program – have never been more important than today as the world pivots towards addressing the COVID-19 crisis and responds to the oil price crash. By focusing on using the power of data and the power of people to challenge the influence of the fossil fuel industry, OCI will continue to advance its mission to expose the true costs of fossil fuels and facilitate the ongoing transition to clean energy.
The OCI Board of Directors,
Thomas Cavanagh, Chair
Jennifer Krill, Vice Chair
John Durkalski, Treasurer
Melissa B. Mills, Secretary
Renato Redentor Constantino
D. Cole Frates
Jonathan G. Kaufman