After more than three decades at the helm of the Open Space Institute (OSI), president and CEO Christopher “Kim” Elliman announced that he will retire in spring 2024. Elliman’s decision to step down concludes an era of programmatic and geographic expansion for OSI, during which the organization grew from a local, Hudson Valley land trust into a nationally recognized conservation leader active in 16 states in the eastern U.S. and three Canadian provinces.
Russell Reynolds Associates will conduct a national search for a successor to Elliman, who will continue to serve as president and CEO through March 2024.
“It has been the privilege of a lifetime to guide OSI’s work with partners, supporters, funders, and of course, OSI’s expert staff. Together, we have built one of the most prodigious conservation and park advocacy organizations in the nation — permanently protecting millions of acres for clean water, wildlife habitat, public recreation, and the fight against climate change, while also seeking to make parks and the land we protect more welcoming and available for all,” said Elliman. “At a time when smart, strategic conservation is needed to address today’s environmental and ecological challenges, I am confident that OSI and its gifted and dedicated staff will maintain and build on the institution’s strength and its commitment to making a lasting impact.”
Elliman also recognized the critical role the OSI Board of Directors has played throughout the history of the organization, noting that their influence and direction have helped guide staff and leadership through successful expansions, institutional change, and countless complex conservation projects.
“Kim Elliman’s knowledge of land conservation and its value to humans and nature, his insatiable appetite for innovative and creative conservation strategies, cultivation of partnerships, and his acute ability to anticipate emerging trends have made him a tremendously effective leader for OSI, as well as the nation’s conservation community,” said John Adams and Amelia Salzman, co-chairs of OSI’s board. “We are grateful for his decades of service and the remarkable team he has assembled. OSI shines because of the talented people Kim Elliman has put in place. This highly effective group of individuals is among his greatest legacies and will further cement OSI as one of the nation’s foremost conservation leaders for decades to come. Just as land protection is forever, so too, is OSI.”
During Elliman’s tenure, OSI and partners have protected more than two million acres of land, including 160,000 acres in New York State, where its work first began nearly fifty years ago.