The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation is looking for a new leader to replace founding president and CEO Bruce E. Matthews. He is leaving the organization to return to his family’s home state of Michigan.
"With the organization's direction, programs and staff in a great place, the timing is right for the Matthews family to return to Michigan," he said in a statement.
Jeff Pontius, chairman of the RBFF board, said he understands Matthews’ decision.
"Family values are the keystone in RBFF's efforts to encourage more Americans to get on the water together,” he said in a statement. “We can't argue with Bruce's reasons for leaving to be closer to his family, and we wish him well.”
Matthews has served in the RBFF leadership position since 1999, the year the nonprofit organization was formed. It was created in response to Congressional action to enhance fishing and boating participation. His departure will coincide with RBFF's midwinter board meeting scheduled for Jan. 31, at which time the board hopes to introduce a new president/CEO.
"I plan to assist RBFF's next president in any way I can during the transition, and I will forever remain RBFF's biggest advocate,” Matthews said.
Best known for the Take Me Fishing advertising campaign, the RBFF's funding and staffing doubled under Matthew's guidance. The organization boasts success in bringing a large and diverse group of fishing and boating interests together for the common goal of increasing participation in these recreational pursuits.
"We've just reaffirmed the RBFF's mission at our Strategic Retreat," said Thom Dammrich, vice chairman of RBFF and president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. "It's an appropriate time to begin a leadership transition. We appreciate that Bruce will continue to provide oversight during the search and help with transition."
The RBFF board has engaged JDG Associates of Rockville, MD., to conduct the search for the next president. Contact Paul Belford at firstname.lastname@example.org.