By Sports Destination Management
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.
“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.