WASHINGTON — U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Interior Michael L. Connor today announced the Department has tapped business leader Jeffrey D. Klein to lead the Natural Resource Investment Center (The Center) as its first executive director. Klein is charged with fostering partnerships with the private sector to develop creative financing opportunities that support economic development goals while advancing the Department’s resource stewardship mission. The announcement will be highlighted later today at a meeting at the White House with private sector leaders about investments in the restoration of the Nation’s natural resources.
Announced in December 2015, the Center was created as part of President Obama’s Build America Investment Initiative to find new ways to increase investment in America’s infrastructure, and will use market-based tools and innovative public-private collaborations to increase investment in water conservation and critical water infrastructure, as well as promote investments that conserve important habitat in a manner that advances efficient permitting and meaningful landscape-level conservation. To promote increased investment in critical water infrastructure, the Center will engage with nonfederal partners to build water supply resilience and identify opportunities for private sector investments in important habitat conservation needs on public and private lands.
“Jeff Klein brings extensive private sector and nonprofit expertise that will enable us to find innovative solutions that better address the challenges facing our natural resources,” Deputy Secretary Connor said. “His leadership will pave the way to initiate the sort of cutting edge social impact investing that will advance our goals for sustainable development alongside thoughtful conservation. Under his direction, the Center will analyze and design projects that provide incentives for private investments in the infrastructure and conservation of water, species, habitat and other natural resources.”
Klein most recently served as president and CEO of the Global FoodBanking Network (GFN), an international nonprofit organization dedicated to alleviating world hunger by creating, supporting and strengthening food banks and local food bank networks in countries outside the United States.
Prior to leading GFN, Klein spent three decades as an investment professional, serving as managing director at Equity Group Investments, where he successfully deployed capital across multiple asset classes and geographies. He was also senior banker at Citibank and Mellon Bank, where he originated, structured and distributed credit risk to other banks and investors.
In addition to Klein, the Center will also be supported by Martin Doyle, senior conservation finance fellow, who is on leave from his position as director of the Water Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and as a professor of river science and policy at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.
Interior’s Natural Resource Investment Center will harness the expertise of the Department’s bureaus, including the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs and U.S Geological Survey, and tap external private sector experience to deliver on its objectives.