Walker thanked Yarnold in in an all-staff email obtained by POLITICO for his “energy and passion leading Audubon to a new level of relevance and importance.” Elizabeth Gray, who joined Audubon in January, will serve as interim CEO as the organization conducts a search. It will use an outside firm for that process.
The personnel change caps off a tumultuous period for Audubon, a storied organization that recently confronted questions about how it handled staff diversity and whether employees of color were given equal opportunities for promotions, senior roles and success. Yarnold, for his part, rejected such claims and said Audubon was trying to become more equitable just like many other organizations facing a long overdue racial reckoning.
But the staff uproar led to a flood of emails to senior leaders and board members for several months, with many dissatisfied with the results of the organization’s efforts to address complaints about diversity. Audubon’s board eventually brought in Morgan Lewis, a law firm, to investigate the workplace culture. Recently, some staff began a push for a union in light of workplace issues, E&E News reported.