The National Geographic Society today announced the appointment of Robert Bernard as global head of strategic partnerships. In this capacity, Bernard will be responsible for building and cultivating sustainable alliances with organizations, foundations and corporations to increase the impact of the National Geographic Society and its partners as they work toward the Society’s vision of a planet in balance. Bernard will be a member of the organization’s senior leadership team.
Bernard comes to the National Geographic Society from Microsoft Corporation, where he served as chief environmental strategist, defining and implementing the global technical, business and operational strategies for the company’s environmental work. Under his guidance, Microsoft transformed its approach to sustainability, restructured its energy sourcing strategy, achieved carbon neutrality through a first-of-its-kind internal carbon tax, and invested in and created breakthrough technologies and programs in resource efficiency. It also launched a $50 million “AI for Earth” initiative and created new engineering teams to pursue opportunities in energy efficiency, utility energy management and precision agriculture.
“We look forward to Rob’s leadership as we partner with the world’s foremost organizations to leverage the National Geographic Society’s brand, science, explorers, educators and convening power,” said Tracy R. Wolstencroft, president and CEO of the National Geographic Society. “With Rob’s overall expertise and profound understanding of the value of strategic alliances, we can, and we will, scale solutions to safeguard our planet for generations to come.”
Before joining Microsoft, Bernard founded and ran a real estate development company. He has held board and advisory positions with Breakthrough Energy Coalition, Corporate EcoForum, Freedom to Roam, the Bainbridge Schools Foundation, Green Grid, Advanced Energy Economy and the University of California Davis Energy Efficiency Center. A recipient of an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Bernard earned an undergraduate degree in English from Columbia University.
“A lifelong admirer of National Geographic, I am honored to join one of the most important and influential global brands,” said Bernard. “National Geographic’s iconic presence provides incredible opportunities to strengthen and expand the positive impact organizations can have on our world. Given the Society’s urgent mission, building a network of strategic alliances is critical to achieving its vision of a planet in balance.”