SSC Leadership and Steering Committee

The governance structure of the SSC must be re-constituted every four years, as per the IUCN Statutes.

SSC is governed by a Steering Committee, which is headed by the Commission Chair.  The Steering Committee represents a balance of regional and thematic perspectives, and provides overall direction to the work of the Commission. 

The SSC Chair, in consultation with the Steering Committee, can establish various SSC Sub-Committees and Task Forces.  The Chairs of these Sub-Committees or Task Forces are often members of the SSC Steering Committee.

The SSC Chair, in consultation with the Steering Committee, must appoint Chairs for the various SSC Specialist Groups at the beginning of each Quadrennium.  Specialist Group Chairs are then mandated by the SSC Chair to appoint group members.

Contents of this page:

Simon Stuart, SSC Chair

SSC Chair

Dr Simon Stuart

Simon Stuart is the Chair of the SSC and has undergraduate and doctoral degrees from the University of Cambridge, with fieldwork in Tanzania and Cameroon. He has over 25 years of experience with the IUCN and the SSC. Simon started work on the African Bird Red Data Book in 1983. He joined the IUCN Secretariat in 1986, and was Head of the Species Programme (1990-2000), Acting Director General (2000-2001), Head of the Biodiversity Assessment Unit (2001-2005), and Senior Species Scientist (2005-2008). He was elected as Chair of the SSC at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona in October 2008. Read more

Jon Paul Rodriguez

SSC Deputy Chair

Dr Jon Paul Rodríguez

Jon Paul Rodríguez is at the Center for Ecology of the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Investigations (Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas ― IVIC), and he is a founder, past President (2001-2008), and current Board Member of Provita (a Venezuelan conservation NGO established in 1987). His undergraduate degree in biology is from the Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas (1991). He was then awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University (1999). Read more

Prof Luigi Boitani

Professor Luigi Boitani

Luigi Boitani is Professor of Conservation Biology and Animal Ecology at the University of Rome, and Head of the Department of Animal and Human Biology. He is also Founder and Director of the Masters program “Conservation of animal biodiversity”. He is Affiliated Professor at the Department of Natural Resources, Idaho University, Moscow and member of the College of Graduate Studies. Read more

Onnie Byers

Dr Onnie Byers

Onnie Byers earned her Ph.D. in reproductive physiology from the University of Minnesota and completed a post doctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo in Washington D.C. She was a member of the National Zoological Park's Mobile Laboratory Research team, and participated in reproductive studies involving cheetah, pumas, tigers and giant panda. Read more 

Claudio Campagna

Dr Claudio Campagna

Claudio is a Wildlife Conservation Society conservation zoologist, with an MD from the University of Buenos Aires and a PhD in animal behaviour from the University of California at Santa Cruz. For his work on the conservation of the Patagonian Sea, he has been elected a Pew Fellow in marine conservation. Read more

Topilztin Contreras MacBeath

Prof Topiltzin Contreras MacBeath

Topiltzin Contreras MacBeath is Professor at the Biological Research Center of the Autonomous University of the State Morelos, in central Mexico, where he is also head of the Conservation Biology work group. His main research interests are related to freshwater ecosystems and endangered fish species conservation. He has described and published aspects of the biology and ecology and conservation of Mexican Freshwater fishes. Read more


Rosie Cooney

Dr Rosie Cooney

Rosie Cooney is Chair of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi). Rosie is a specialist in biodiversity policy and management, with a background in zoology and law, and over twelve years experience in international and national policy research, analysis and development. Read more

John Donaldson

Prof John Donaldson

John Donaldson is Chief Director of Applied Biodiversity Research at the South African National Biodiversity Institute and is the Harold Pearson Professor of Botany at the University of Cape Town. He manages a diverse applied biodiversity research programme dealing with contemporary conservation issues, which includes projects on threatened species and ecosystems, invasive species, sustainable use, impacts of genetically modified organisms, and links between biodiversity and ecosystem services. Read more

Brahim Haddane

Dr Brahim Haddane

Brahim Haddane is an IUCN Regional Councillor for Africa. In 1980, he became involved in the mobilisation of Civil Society and Public Opinion to promote nature conservation, the fight against the overexploitation of natural resources, the degradation of biodiversity and pollution of the environment, whilst defending the idea of the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from natural resources. Read more

Mike Hoffman, Senior Scientific Advisor to the SSC

Michael Hoffmann

Michael Hoffmann, a South African national, is currently based in the UNEP-WCMC office in Cambridge, UK, where he serves as Senior Scientific Officer to IUCN’s Species Survival Commission. Mike provides technical and scientific support to the work of the Commission and helps ensure uptake of Commission-based research in appropriate policy arenas.
Read More 

Hans de Iongh, Netherlands

Prof Hans de Iongh

Hans de Iongh has been a member of the Board of the Netherlands Committee for IUCN since 1987, Chair of the Committee (1990 - 2000), and Vice Chair (2000 - 2003). In October 2008 he became Regional Councillor for West Europe. Since 2003, he has been a member of the Supervisory Board of IUCN NL and Biodiversity Advisor to the daily board. Hans is an active member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, especially the Sustainable Use Specialist Group, the Sirenia Specialist Group and the Cat Specialist Group. Read more 

Mirza Kusrini

Dr Mirza D. Kusrini

Mirza Kusrini is lecturer in the Department of Forest Resources Conservation & Ecotourism at Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia. She is an enthusiastic advocate of amphibian and reptile conservation and serves as Chair of the Indonesian Herpetologist Society. Her research is mostly on the biodiversity and ecology of amphibians. Read more 

Dr Frédéric Launay

Dr Frédéric Launay

Frédéric Launay is Assistant Secretary General for Science & Research (ASGSR) at the Environmental Research & Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA) in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Besides being Chair of the SSC Reintroduction Specialist Group, his other duties include Director, WWF-UAE and Chairman, IUCN/SSC Houbara Bustard Working Group which is based at the National Avian Research Center in Abu Dhabi , UAE. Read more


Dr. Susan Lieberman

Dr Susan Lieberman

Dr. Susan Lieberman has worked in international biodiversity conservation, at the intersection between science and policy, for more than 25 years. She is currently the Executive Director of Conservation Policy for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), where she works to direct WCS policy engagement in multiple intergovernmental fora in support of WCS’ conservation programs to conserve wildlife and wild areas, working closely with governments, IUCN, NGO partners, and others. Prior to joining WCS, she worked for four years as Director, International Policy at the Pew Environment Group, focusing in particular on treaties, regional fisheries management organizations and other intergovernmental organizations, including the United Nations, to provide science-based research, policy analysis and expertise to ensure the sustainability of marine species and ecosystems. Read more


Jeff McNeely

Mr Jeffrey McNeely

Jeffrey A. McNeely is Senior Science Advisor at IUCN, where he has worked since 1980. Before joining IUCN, he spent twelve years in Thailand, Indonesia, and Nepal, conducting research and practical application of resource management activities. He has worked in over 85 countries, from Australia to Zimbabwe, often advising governments, universities, and the private sector on conservation issues. He makes over 35 public presentations each year, on various conservation topics. Read more

Patricia Medici

Dr Patricia Medici

Dr Patrícia Medici is a Brazilian conservation biologist whose main professional interests are species conservation, particularly tapirs, landscape ecology, and community-based conservation. Patrícia has a Bachelor's Degree in Forestry Sciences from the São Paulo University (USP - Universidade de São Paulo), a Masters Degree in Wildlife Ecology, Conservation and Management from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG - Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais), Brazil, and a Ph.D. Degree in Biodiversity Management from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom. Read more

Dr Russell Mittermeier

Dr Russell Mittermeier

President of Conservation International, Dr Russell A. Mittermeier, has a long-standing affiliation with SSC and the wider IUCN, beginning in the 1970s. He is Chair of the SSC Primate Specialist Group, member of the Commission on Ecosystem Management, and was elected IUCN councillor at the 3rd and 4th IUCN World Conservation Congress. Read more

Dr Yvonne Sadovy

Dr Yvonne Sadovy

Yvonne Sadovy has worked in the area of reef fish biology, conservation and management for over 20 years, initially from a purely research perspective and increasingly applying that work to the areas of reef fish conservation and management. She received her PhD from the University of Manchester, which was followed by a long association with Puerto Rico, first with the University of Puerto Rico and then as the first female Director of the government’s Fishery Research Laboratory. Read more 

Prof Michael Samways

Prof Michael Samways

Michael Samways is Professor in the Department of Entomology, and Director of the Centre for Agricultural Biodiversity at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. He is an enthusiastic advocate of invertebrate conservation and serves as Chair of SSC’s Southern Africa Invertebrate Specialist Group. Michael is Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa and a Fellow of the University of Natal. Read more 

Mark Stanley Price

Dr Mark Stanley Price

Mark was founder Chair of the SSC Re-introduction Specialist Group from 1988 to 2000, based on his pioneering work to re-introduce the Arabian Oryx to Oman between 1979 and 1987. He has remained very active in the SSC since then, and carried out the major study on voluntarism in the SSC in 2000. After directing the African Wildlife Foundation in Nairobi 1987-1999, he was Chief Executive of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust from 2001 to 2008. Read more

Xie Yan

Dr Yan Xie

Geographic areas of expertise: China

Yan is now the China Country Program Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and an Associate Research Professor at the Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. She leads the WCS China Programme working in Qiangtang and Pamir in western China, Amur tiger habitat in north-east China, and a long-term programme on controlling wildlife trade. Read more

Institutional observers


Dr Stuart Butchart

Dr Stuart Butchart

Dr Stuart Butchart is Head of Science at BirdLife International – a global Partnership of over 120 national environmental organisations. He oversees a team of scientists helping the BirdLife Partnership to set robust priorities for conserving species and sites, understanding the key threats to biodiversity and identifying the priority solutions required. Read more

Dr Jon Hutton

Dr Jon Hutton

Jon Hutton is an authority on many aspects of international wildlife conservation policy, including CITES and wildlife trade, protected area management, community-based conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources. He is Chair of the SSC Sustainable Use Specialist Group. Jon is director of UNEP-WCMC and continues on the board of directors at ResourceAfrica (UK), a position he has had since 1998. Read more 

Carlos Drews

Dr Carlos Drews

Carlos Drews is the director of WWF´s Global Species Programme. A native of Colombia, Carlos has a Ph.D. in Zoology from Cambridge University and has carried out research into wildlife behavioural ecology in Africa and Latin America. Before joining WWF in 2003, he was on the academic staff at the International Institute for Wildlife Conservation and Management, based at the National University of Costa Rica. Read more

Dr Jonathan Baillie

Dr Jonathan Baillie

Dr. Jonathan Baillie is Director of Conservation Programmes at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) where he is responsible for overseeing conservation and research projects in over 50 countries worldwide. He is also responsible for the conservation policy work of the Society. Dr Baillie’s involvement with IUCN started in 1995 when he co-edited the 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals with Brian Groombridge. Read more

Taej Mundkur

Dr Taej Mundkur

Taej Mundkur, from Pune, India, undertook both a BSc (1982) and an MSc (1984) in Microbiology from Pune University. He then switched to his real passion - waterbird ecology - and completed a PhD from Saurashtra University, Rajkot (1990). He serves as Flyway Programme Manager at Wetlands International and is responsible for developing and coordinating migratory waterbird and wetland programmes across the world’s major flyways. He serves as Chair of the CMS Flyways Working Group. Read more 

Dr. Gregory Stone

Dr Gregory Stone

Dr Gregory Stone, Executive Vice President of Conservation International, is a leading expert on ocean science/conservation who has given a TED talk and appeared in Discovery Channel and National Geographic documentaries. He has received numerous awards including the US Navy and National Science Foundation Antarctic Service Medal. He is widely published in scientific literature, National Geographic Magazine, and three award winning books, (most recent, 2012, UNDERWATER EDEN, University of Chicago Press).
Read more 

Dr Elizabeth Bennett

Dr Elizabeth Bennett

Dr Elizabeth Bennett is currently Vice President for Species Conservation at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) based at WCS’s head office in New York. In this role, she oversees WCS’s species conservation programmes around the globe, and in WCS’s zoological collections in New York. Prior to this, she oversaw WCS’s global programmes on hunting and wildlife trade, including addressing bushmeat issues in Africa and wildlife trade in China. Read more

IUCN Secretariat


Jane Smart

Dr Jane Smart

Jane Smart is Global Director of IUCN’s Biodiversity Conservation Group and Director of IUCN’s Global Species Programme. The Biodiversity Conservation Group comprises the Global Species Programme, Global Protected Areas Programme, World Heritage Programme, as well as the Invasive Species Initiative and TRAFFIC. Read more

Jean-Christophe Vié

Dr Jean-Christophe Vié

Jean-Christophe joined the Species Programme in 2001 as its Deputy Head. He oversees many diverse aspects of the Programme, including biodiversity assessments and input into several international agreements. His involvement with IUCN started 14 years ago when he was invited to join the SSC. In early 2000, he joined the IUCN West Africa Regional Office where he was in charge of coordinating all aspects of the IUCN programme in Guinea Bissau. Read more

Dr Thomas Brooks

Dr Thomas Brooks

Thomas Brooks, from Brighton, U.K., holds a B.A. (Hons) in Geography from the University of Cambridge (1993) and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Tennessee (1998). He is the Head of Science and Knowledge at IUCN. He also holds visiting positions at ICRAF-the World Agroforestry Center in the University of the Philippines Los Baños and in the Department of Geography of the University of Tasmania. He is an ornithologist by training, with extensive field experience in tropical forests of Asia, South America and Africa. Read more 

Steven Broad

Mr Steven Broad

Steven Broad is Executive Director of TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network. He is responsible for TRAFFIC’s global operation as a partnership between WWF and IUCN, and leadership of a team of 120 staff based in 30 countries world-wide. TRAFFIC delivers research findings, policy advice, capacity building and public outreach to address conservation and development concerns related to trade in wild animals and plants, ranging from trade in ivory and tiger products to fisheries, timber and medicinal plants. Read more

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  • Species 54
An overview of the IUCN SSC network
  • Great Hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran)
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