Dr. Richard Florizone has been named the new President and CEO of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), an award-winning research organization dedicated to accelerating the global transition to fair economies, clean water and a stable climate.
Florizone, President Emeritus and former Vice-Chancellor of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, was appointed to the role on January 1, 2020, after a months-long, worldwide search.
“Richard is a recognized thought leader and innovator,” says Alan Young, Chair of the Board for IISD. “He has a proven record of running complex organizations, working with diverse stakeholders to ensure core values are protected and strategic growth is prioritized.”
Like IISD itself, Florizone is part scientist, part strategist—he comes to the organization with a wealth of expertise in bringing public and private sectors together to reach ambitious, multi-faceted goals, maintaining an unwavering belief in the power of partnerships.
“The world’s biggest challenges—climate change, economic inequality, a rapid loss of clean water—are too complex for any one institution or government to solve alone,” says Florizone. “We must work across sectors and industries, and we must do so with an open mind.”
In his time at Dalhousie from 2013 to 2018, Florizone played an essential role in bringing CAD 500 million in innovation investment to Atlantic Canada through joint initiatives such as the Ocean Frontier Institute, a transnational research hub dedicated to finding solutions for a healthy marine ecosystem, and the Ocean Supercluster, which focuses on creating a sustainable ocean economy. He also ushered in record-breaking levels of research income, student enrolment and fundraising, while measurably advancing diversity and inclusion.
Florizone has held senior leadership positions at the University of Saskatchewan, Bombardier Aerospace, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) at the World Bank Group, Boston Consulting Group and the Quantum Valley Ideas Lab. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is a Senior Executive Fellow at the Waterloo Institute of Sustainable Energy and is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.
“Sustainability is the defining issue of our times,” says Florizone. “We have an opportunity right now to shift the global trajectory. But we must do it together.”