Terry Garcia, member of APCO’s International Advisory Council, has more than three decades of public and private sector experience successfully leading large and complex organizations with global operations. He has substantial experience in change management, strategic planning, government affairs and public policy, legislative and regulatory matters, media and entertainment, mergers & acquisitions, corporate, environmental and election law, risk and compliance oversight, corporate governance and board service.
For 17 years, Garcia served as executive vice president and chief science and exploration officer for the National Geographic Society where he was responsible for the Society’s core mission programs including those that supported and managed more than 400 scientific field research, conservation and exploration projects annually. Under his leadership, the Society’s science and education programs experienced significant growth in global impact and prominence. He was responsible for the development and launch of major multi-year science and conservation initiatives including the Pristine Seas Project, the objective of which was to explore and protect the last pristine wilderness areas in the ocean. Under his leadership, National Geographic provided resources and expertise to United Nations and US Government efforts to raise public awareness and support for effective actions relating to climate and ocean issues, including assistance with the UN Secretary General’s “High Level Event on Climate Change”, and Secretary of State John Kerry’s “Our Ocean Conference”.
In June 2010 Garcia was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. The Commission investigated the root causes of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and made recommendations on how to prevent — and mitigate the impact of — any future spills that result from offshore drilling.
Previously Garcia served as the assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, and deputy administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under President Bill Clinton. In these roles, he served as a leading strategist and advocate for the administration’s ocean and environmental policy and had wide-ranging programmatic responsibilities which included directing and coordinating U.S. coastal, ocean and atmospheric programs including ocean and climate monitoring, recovery of endangered species, habitat conservation planning, natural resource damage assessment, clean water act implementation, licensing of commercial remote sensing satellite systems, commercial fisheries management, coastal zone management and national marine sanctuaries.
Before entering government service, Garcia was a partner in the major national law firms of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips and Hughes Hubbard & Reed. He advised on political and election law matters representing US Senate and Presidential campaigns and state political parties. He also established and was chairman of Hughes Hubbard & Reed’s, West Coast Financial Services Group where he represented financial institutions in all aspects of their operations, including corporate and securities matters, audit and financial management, mergers and acquisitions, bank operations, federal and state regulatory and legislative issues, and enforcement and administrative proceedings.
He is currently president of Exploration Ventures, a company providing strategic advice to global clients in a range of industries, including science and technology, conservation, art, media, and education.