Carol M. Browner, former head of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has joined the Global Ocean Commission, an independent high-level panel aiming to restore the ocean to ecological health and sustainable productivity.
Ms Browner replaces John Podesta, founder of the Center for American Progress (CAP), who was recently appointed Counselor to US President Barack Obama.
'I'm delighted to be joining the Global Ocean Commission and doing whatever I can to advance its valuable work,' said Ms Browner.
'Few issues need our attention as much as the ocean, given its many crucial roles including feeding the world's population, carrying 90% of international trade and regulating the climate.
'The Commission has the potential to cut through the barriers obstructing the ocean reforms that most of the world's governments want and most of its citizens demand, and I'm looking forward to working with other Commissioners from around the world to realise that potential.'
Ms Browner served as EPA Administrator in both of President Bill Clinton's terms in office (1993-2001), and later as Director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy under President Barack Obama.
John Podesta, who was President Clinton's White House Chief of Staff before setting up and chairing CAP, stepped down from the Global Ocean Commission upon returning to the White House.
'I'm sorry at leave the Global Ocean Commission before it can complete its work, but I know that in Carol Browner, the Commission is gaining someone of huge talent and vast experience,' he said.
'Carol has worked throughout her career to build a clean environment and a strong, sustainable economy. She deeply believes that a global society of seven billion people can only prosper if it works collectively on issues of common concern – and nothing could be of more common concern than a healthy ocean.'
David Miliband, the CEO of the International Rescue Committee and former UK Foreign Secretary who co-chairs the Global Ocean Commission, welcomed Ms Browner on board.
'As an architect of major environmental reforms during her eight years as EPA chief, Carol showed clearly that she has the vision and determination to get these tough reforms agreed,' he said.
'She showed herself to have the combination of clarity and pragmatism that is vital to the Commission's work – I know that we can all benefit from her drive and experience, and my fellow Co-chairs and I are looking forward to working with her.
'In the meantime, we would like to thank John for his expertise and his very valuable contribution to the Commission's work, and wish him well for the future.'
Launched in February 2013, the Global Ocean Commission consists of 17 leaders drawn from every region of the world who will, before mid-2014, release a blueprint for reforming governance and management of the high seas, the international portion of the ocean that covers nearly half of the Earth's surface.
In addition to Mr Miliband, the other Co-chairs are former Costa Rican President José María Figueres and Trevor Manuel, Minister in the South African Presidency and former Finance Minister.
Currently the Commission is asking for comments from all sectors of society as it hones draft recommendations in 10 key policy areas, such as conservation of ocean life, fisheries management in the high seas and climate change. Comments are welcome via the Commission's website (www.globaloceancommission.org).
The Global Ocean Commission originated as an initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts, in partnership with Somerville College at the University of Oxford, Adessium Foundation and Oceans 5. It is supported by Pew, Adessium Foundation, Oceans 5 and the Swire Group Charitable Trust, but is independent of all. It is hosted by Somerville College. More information, including a list of Commissioners, is available at http://www.globaloceancommission.org