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Ocean Institute President and CEO Dan Stetson has announced he will be stepping down from his post. He is shown here working with Julianne Steers, head aquarist (left) and Vice President of Development, Kajsa James, on the institute’s recent expansion project. Photo: Andrea Swayne
Ocean Institute President and CEO Dan Stetson has announced he will be stepping down from his post. He is shown here working with Julianne Steers, head aquarist (left) and Vice President of Development, Kajsa James, on the institute’s recent expansion project. Photo: Andrea Swayne

By Andrea Swayne

Dan Stetson, president and CEO of the nonprofit Ocean Institute, will be stepping down.

Stetson, who has been at the institute for 22 years, nearly 11 as president and CEO, is preparing to leave his post within the next few months, for both personal and professional reasons, he said.

“My wife is retiring from teaching after 37 years and one of my goals with this move, is to get out of spousal debt,” Stetson said. “In all the years I’ve been working here she has been a great support to me, accompanying me sometimes up to three nights a week for evening events, in addition to her fulltime teaching job.”

Stetson said he and his wife, who is a special education teacher for severely autistic children, are both eager to downshift and change their lifestyle. Although Stetson will not be retiring completely, he’s hoping to go from 60-hour work weeks to 30 hours in his new focus, working on special projects and endowments for the institute.

“I am absolutely delighted to see Jim transition in this fashion. It fits with where he’s at in life and will allow him to remain a part of the Ocean Institute family,” said Maurice Masson, chairman of the Ocean Institute Board of Directors. “He’s the best spokesman for the Ocean Institute, has a talent for speaking with people and is the perfect person to take care of growing our endowment.”

Dan Stetson, president and CEO of the Ocean Institute, after stepping down from his post, will continue to work on special projects and endowments for the institute but also hopes to travel to some of the world’s greatest diving locales. Photo: Courtesy
Dan Stetson, president and CEO of the Ocean Institute, after stepping down from his post, will continue to work on special projects and endowments but also hopes to travel to some of the world’s greatest diving locales. Photo: Courtesy

The board has retained a prominent search firm and is now in the process of searching for a new chief exec.

“The hard work and dedication of our staff and volunteers, and everyone’s passion and dedication to our mission is a big part of the reason I am eager to continue working on special projects at the institute,” Stetson said. ”Besides, I think I would go into withdrawal if I cut myself off completely.”

The first of many travels he and his wife will embark on after he steps down, Stetson said, is a trip to the Australian Open—both are big tennis fans—and diving at the Great Barrier Reef.

One of a long list of improvements to the institute, while under Stetson’s direction is the recent expansion project which will celebrate its grand opening is in May.

Click here to read about the expansion project.

Click here to read a story about the Ocean Institute including programs, changes and acquisitions made during Stetson’s time at the helm.

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