Roger McClendon named new Executive Director of the Green Sports Alliance
Former Yum! Brands Chief Sustainability Officer leads infusion of new organization leadership to elevate healthy, sustainable communities through Professional and Collegiate sports
PORTLAND, OR – Today, the Green Sports Alliance announced Roger McClendon as the new Executive Director for the organization. McClendon will lead the premier alliance of international sports and stadium executives, as well as sustainability experts, to use sports as a vehicle to promote healthy, sustainable communities throughout the world. McClendon’s hire is part of a broader infusion of new executive and board leadership announced today.
“I am honored for the opportunity to lead the Green Sports Alliance. I look forward to taking the Alliance to the next level and ensuring sports plays a key role in the global sustainability movement, focused on measurable impact,” McClendon said. “Along with our Board, members and staff, we are poised to develop the Alliance’s vision, while leveraging global innovation and strategic partnerships, to improve the social and environmental well-being of future generations.”
McClendon joins Green Sports Alliance with extensive experience in sustainability, business and sports. McClendon was the first-ever Chief Sustainability Officer for Yum! Brands, whose holdings include Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC restaurants. He also led the development of Blueline, a sustainable design guide for restaurants built on the LEED certification program. Blueline was a global standard implemented in approximately 5,000 Yum! Brand restaurants globally.
“We are very excited to have Roger take on this leadership role,” said Scott Jenkins, who serves as Chair of the Board. “His results-driven track record in sustainability and sports presents a unique opportunity for the Alliance to further innovate, influence and inspire the communities we serve.”
Due to McClendon’s efforts, Yum! was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in 2017 and 2018, as well as one of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens by Corporate Responsibility Magazine. Yum! Brands was also part of the inaugural class of the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions, U.S. businesses and organizations pledging concrete steps to reduce food loss and waste in their operations 50 percent by 2030.
Prior to Yum! McClendon worked with Champion Paper, now International Paper, to automate and improve operational and manufacturing efficiencies that included water treatment, power generation, and production systems. McClendon studied computer and electrical engineering at the University of Cincinnati while also becoming the school’s number two scorer all-time, second only to National Basketball Association Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson.
McClendon was chosen after a thorough and highly competitive national search led by Weinreb Group Sustainability Recruiting, a boutique executive search firm that specializes in placing sustainability leaders.
In addition to McClendon’s selection, the Alliance also welcomed the addition of six new board directors as part of an effort to bring new leadership, energy and diversity to the organization:
- Elaine Aye, Associate Regional Manager, RWDI
- Dune Ives, Executive Director, Lonely Whale
- Kunal Merchant, Managing Director, Lotus Advisory
- Jill Savery, Founder and CEO, Bristlecone Strategies
- Cyrus Wadia, former Vice President, Sustainable Business and Innovation, Nike
- Jamie Zaninovich, Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer, Pac-12 Conference
“The Green Sports Alliance is uniquely positioned to lead a vital conversation about sports and sustainability that grows more promising and urgent by the day,” said Board Member Kunal Merchant. “I’m thrilled to join with Roger, the Board, and our entire network to further the Alliance’s work at a moment where bold, transformative, and inclusive action is needed more than ever.”
McClendon will make his first appearance as Executive Director on Thursday, January 17 at the Green Sports Alliance’s Sports & Sustainability Symposium at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. McClendon is expected to embark on an initial listening tour with Alliance members and partners shortly thereafter.
For more information, please visit www.greensportsalliance.org.
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About Green Sports Alliance
The Green Sports Alliance leverages the cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable communities where people live and play. The Alliance inspires professional sports leagues, sports governing bodies, colleges, teams, venues, their partners and millions of fans to embrace renewable energy, healthy food, recycling, water efficiency, safer chemicals and other environmentally preferable practices. Alliance members now number nearly 600 organizations representing teams, leagues, and venues in 14 countries.
Executive Director, Green Sports Alliance
Roger McClendon is a results-driven executive with deep global experience in the development and deployment of engineering innovation and sustainability/supply-chain management strategies for domestic and international operations.
As the first-ever Chief Sustainability Officer for Yum! Brands, Inc., Roger created corporate social responsibility strategies, global environmental policies and restaurant sustainability development standards and implemented them company-wide, making the company the second largest developer of green restaurants in the world. He ensured all brand restaurants operated efficiently and minimized environmental impact through innovation, helping the company be named to the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index and among the Top 100 Best Corporate Citizens by Corporate Responsibility Magazine (2017). Earlier at Yum!, Roger was Senior Director YUM Global Engineering and Facilities, Restaurant Excellence for Yum Restaurants Global – A&W, KFC, Long John Silvers, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, responsible for developing the standards, strategies and tactics to ensure global quality standards, engineering standards and operational standards.
Roger has held a number of roles and board positions, including positions with the University of Louisville Speed School of Engineering, Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, Habitat for Humanity, Louisville Sports Commission, Kentucky Minority Business Council, and McClendon Institute for Learning Community Outreach Programs.
Roger’s other passion is basketball. He was a McDonald’s All-American in 1984, one of the top 25 high school basketball players in the nation and went on to be a four-year starter who closed his University of Cincinnati men’s basketball career as the No. 2 scorer, second only to Oscar Robertson at the time. He was inducted into the UC Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998.
Roger holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer & Electrical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. He lives in Louisville with his wife, Suzanne and four children.
NEW GREEN SPORTS ALLIANCE BOARD MEMBERS
Associate Regional Manager, RWDI
Elaine is a sustainability consultant and strategist focused on building performance, wellness, equity and resiliency. With over 30 years’ professional experience, including nearly 20 years in the green building industry, Elaine’s approach to facilitating project teams results in long-term client success – whether that means achieving certification, educating staff, or enhancing building performance through various design or operational strategies. She has taught diverse people across many disciplines about LEED, WELL, SITES, GRI, and the integrative process. Elaine earned her BA in Interior Design from California State University, Sacramento; and has received multiple Executive Education certificates through the University of Washington and Harvard University.
Executive Director, Lonely Whale
Dune leads the award-winning Lonely Whale, an incubator for courageous ideas that drive impactful, market-based change on behalf of our ocean. Under Dune’s leadership, efforts by Lonely Whale to reduce ocean-bound plastic have earned recognition from the Effy, Shorty, ADDY Awards, Fast Company, and Huffington Post. Dune previously designed and oversaw Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Philanthropy, co-founded The Green Sports Alliance, and was chosen as one of four “Environmental Champions of 2017” by InsideHook. Dune has been featured on CBS, Fast Company, NPR, CNN, The Guardian, and Washington Post.
Managing Director, Lotus Advisory
Kunal Merchant is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Lotus Advisory, a strategic consulting firm supporting a select portfolio of clients in business, government, and social enterprise. Within Lotus’ sports practice, Kunal advises several NBA, NFL, MLB, MLS, and NHL initiatives on strategy, public policy, and communications. Prior to Lotus, Kunal was a Vice President with the Sacramento Kings and Mayor’s Chief of Staff for the City of Sacramento, where he played a central role in the development of the acclaimed Golden 1 Center, the world’s first LEED Platinum-certified indoor sports venue. Kunal previously worked in health care and education, and earned his B.A. and M.B.A. from Harvard University.
Founder and CEO, Bristlecone Strategies
Jill Savery is a 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist, 8-time World Champion, and an International Swimming Hall of Fame Inductee in the sport of synchronized swimming. Jill is a sustainability advisor, consultant, author, public speaker, and graduate school instructor on corporate social responsibility. Her experience includes work with 11th Hour Racing, 34th America’s Cup, Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 (Olympic Games), Super Bowl 50 Host Committee, and bid teams for the England 2018 FIFA World Cup and the Chicago 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Jill earned her Master’s in Environmental Management from Yale University, and Bachelor’s from UC Berkeley.
Former Vice President, Sustainable Business and Innovation, Nike
Cyrus Wadia is the former Vice President, Sustainable Business & Innovation for Nike, where he led the company’s global sustainability strategy. Prior to joining Nike, Cyrus spent over five years directing clean energy and materials policy within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He also served as the Co-Director of Cleantech to Market – a dual appointment with the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, and spent more than seven years in Silicon Valley as a tech entrepreneur. Cyrus holds a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and M.S. and S.B. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer, Pac-12 Conference
Jamie oversees all aspects of administrative operations for the Pac-12, including television administration, sport management, championships, football bowl relationships, governance, enforcement, compliance and officiating. In addition, he also serves as the sport administrator for Pac-12 men’s basketball. Jamie joined the Pac-12 in 2014 after six years as commissioner of the West Coast Conference where he led the conference through a period of unprecedented growth and transformation. He has also served as a sports administrator at both Stanford and Princeton University. A native of Eugene, Oregon, Zaninovich is a graduate of Stanford and the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.