End of an Era at National Geographic Society

The end of 2010 will also mark the end of an era at the National Geographic Society, as Gilbert Grosvenor steps down as the Chairman of the organization. Grosvenor has been leading the Society for more than 23 years, and this transition will mark the first time in Nat Geo’s 122 year history that a Grosvenor has not held the position.

According to this story at the Washington Post, Grosvenor will be succeeded by John M. Fahey, who has been the President of the Society for the past 14 years. Grosvenor isn’t stepping away entirely however, as he’ll assume the role of Chairman Emeritus and will continue to have a voice in the direction of the organization. His daughter, Lexi Grosvenor Eller, will continue to serve on the board as well.

The Grosvenors are heirs to Alexander Graham Bell, who played a pivotal role in taking the Society from a small group of geographers to a brand that is now famous the world over. The organization has been run by Bell’s descendants, including the Grosvenors, ever since. Over the years, that leadership has reinvented and reinvigorated the Society on a number of occasions.

The family influence on Nat Geo is a lasting legacy that you don’t find in many other organizations these days. I’m glad to hear that they’ll still have a hand in guiding National Geographic through the 21st century and beyond.

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