As chief executive officer, Santiago Gowland is responsible for the strategic, programmatic, financial, and operational leadership of the Rainforest Alliance. He leads the organization’s Leadership Team and reports to the Board of Directors.
Santiago has a proven track record of driving organizational innovation and sustainability strategies, applying this knowledge to multiple sectors, cultures, and across all seven continents. Prior to joining the Rainforest Alliance, he served as the executive vice president for Latin America and global innovation for The Nature Conservancy (TNC), one of the largest conservation organizations in the world. In his role as managing director for the region, he worked with more than 300 staff members in 17 countries and led the Latin American Conservation Council, an unprecedented group of leaders working with TNC to identify solutions to help tackle Latin America’s greatest environmental challenges, including water security, sustainable food production, and smart infrastructure. In his role as head of global innovation for TNC, Santiago was the executive champion for their green technology strategy, systems innovation capabilities, “agility lab,” and collaboration with technology companies.
Before joining TNC, Santiago was the senior vice president of global corporate innovation at The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc., where he led breakthrough innovation platforms, external partnerships, and corporate innovation strategy across the company’s brands and business units.
Previously, he created the Systems Innovation function at Nike, Inc., leading market transformation work and heading public and private partnerships that scaled up sustainability strategies and accelerated innovation to enable system change. He oversaw Nike’s collaboration with NASA, the United States Department of State, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to develop LAUNCH, a global initiative supporting world-changing sustainable business innovations.
Earlier in his career, Santiago was the vice president of global sustainable development and corporate brand strategy at Unilever, where he catalyzed their corporate transformation by leading the integration of social, economic, and environmental strategies into brand innovation; created Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan framework; and developed their corporate brand strategy and marketing plan.
He holds a degree in law and political science from Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina (UCA) and an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University in Phoenix, Arizona. He currently resides with his family in Buenos Aires, Argentina.