Chris Ninnes new CEO of the ASC


Utrecht, Netherlands, July 13th 2011 - The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) is very pleased to announce that Chris Ninnes will take the position of Chief Executive Officer in October 2011.

Chris Ninnes has a deep knowledge of the changing market developments in the seafood value chain, a strong commercial and developing world skill-set and brings with him significant experience in building a sustainable fisheries development certification programmes.

As the former Deputy Chief Executive of the Marine Stewardship Council, he will also bring the ideal leadership skills to drive the ASC towards its target of being the world's leading certification and labeling program for responsible aquaculture.

The ASC is an independent not for profit organisation founded in 2009 to manage the global standards for responsible aquaculture developed by the Aquaculture Dialogues. Jose Villalon, Chairmen of the ASC Supervisory Board: "I speak on behalf of the entire Supervisory Board in expressing our delight with bringing on Chris as the new CEO of the ASC. Chris will bring a wealth of maturity and a broad base of experience in managing and operating credible standard holding bodies. His efficient management of transparent multi-stakeholder initiatives and respected experience in delivering strategic solutions in these environments will ensure ASC operates robustly in this arena".

Ninnes has worked with many of the world's seafood industry leaders, including elected ministers, departmental heads and company, sector and NGO leaders, seeking to build understanding and trust in certification programmes and to demonstrate value for money. "I have spent my working life engaged in activities that have sought to improve the management of natural resources and of the livelihoods dependent on them," Ninnes said. "I see working for the ASC as a natural progression of this personal commitment. This is an exciting opportunity within an organisation poised to make a significant difference by encouraging and rewarding best environmental and social practices in aquaculture".

The hiring of Ninnes is major milestone toward the ASC becoming operational. Director of Standards, Bas Geerts: "Accreditation will be opened for the ASC Tilapia Standard late August. We are expecting the first ASC certified tilapia on the retailer shelves early next year. Another milestone will be in September, when the first training is scheduled for certifying bodies who are interested in becoming accredited for the ASC Pangasius Standard. It is important in this phase to have someone like Chris on board who understands certification and has a commercial market development vision. With Chris the team will be well positioned to bring ASC into its next phase".

About Chris Ninnes
Chris Ninnes was Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Operations of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) with direct line reports for regional operational teams in Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific and for the technical teams within the Standards and Licensing department (which includes fisheries and chain of custody certification and logo licensing). He was a member of the senior management team, a Director of MSC's trading company, a member of the finance committee and a non-Executive member within MSC's governance bodies. He was also heavily involved with ISEAL, serving as vice chair and executive committee member of the Board and member of the finance committee. 
One of his key roles has been the oversight of the development and implementation of the organisation's integrated strategic plan; which has driven the rapid growth of the MSC.  Organisationally this required changes to portfolio management, the restructuring of teams, recruitment and redundancies to provide the current structure that is sustaining organisational growth.
Before his position at MSC, Ninnes held the position of Technical Director at MRAG Ltd and as Vice President of MRAG Americas. He built up extensive change management experience in various roles within the UK government's Department for International Development with senior experience in Eastern and Southern Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. His career started as a fisheries officer in Kenya (VSO) and was formerly a commercial fishermen operating off the SW coast of the UK.

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