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Name: Lester, Charles
Current Position: Executive Director

He is succeeding a legend, Peter Douglas, at the Coastal Commission, but Charles Lester was unanimously chosen by the Coastal Commission board on September 8, 2011, to be its fourth executive director.

Lester earned a bachelor of arts in geochemistry from New York’s Columbia University. In 1989 he received a J. D. from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California,  Berkeley, and three years later he earned a Ph.D in Jurisprudence and Social Policy, also from UC Berkeley. His dissertation was on the “Politics, Policy, and Law of Offshore Oil Development.”

Lester was a professor of environmental policy and law at the University of Colorado, Boulder from 1993 to 1997. He joined the California Coastal Commission in 1997. He served as senior deputy director for five years, from 2006 to 2011.

Lester’s predecessor, conservation champion Douglas who retired in 2011 and died of cancer in April 2012, had said that he wanted to handpick his successor and that Lester was his choice. Douglas warned against going outside the state for a new executive director.


Coastal Commission Appoints New Executive Director (pdf)

Leader's Departure Marks End of an Era for Coastal Commission (by Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times)

California Coastal Commission Appoints New Executive (by Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times)

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