Blog Post

Jean Case Elected Chairman of National Geographic Society Board of Trustees: Tracy Wolstencroft Elected Vice Chairman

Today, the National Geographic Society announced that philanthropist, investor and Internet pioneer Jean Case, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Case Foundation, has been elected chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Geographic Society. Tracy Wolstencroft, CEO of Heidrick & Struggles, was elected vice chairman.

“Both Jean Case and Tracy Wolstencroft have proven pivotal members of the National Geographic Society Board since they joined,” said Gary E. Knell, president and CEO of the National Geographic Society. “They share our dedication to inspiring global citizens, and I couldn’t ask for better leadership as we work to further the Society’s mission.”

Case has been involved with National Geographic for more than a decade and joined the Board of Trustees in 2010. Her leadership on the board has included chairing the Nominating and Governance Committee and co-chairing the Search Committee that tapped Gary Knell as the Society’s CEO in 2013.

Case co-founded the Case Foundation, recognized for its innovative efforts to address global challenges and opportunities. The driving force behind groundbreaking initiatives, including the Startup America Partnership, America’s Giving Challenge and the Be Fearless campaign, the Case Foundation invests in and creates programs that aim to revolutionize the philanthropic sector, unleash the power of entrepreneurship to bring innovative solutions to communities around the world and ignite civic engagement through citizen-driven solutions.

A true digital pioneer, prior to co-founding the Case Foundation, Case spent more than 20 years in the technology sector, including as a senior executive at America Online. Case is also a member of the advisory boards of the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative, the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation, and the U.S. National Advisory Board to the Social Impact Investing Task Force (SIITF) established by the Group of 8 (G8). She also serves on the boards of Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, BrainScope Company, the Brain Trust Accelerator Fund and the White House Historical Association.

Wolstencroft has been a member of the board since 2008, serving as chair of the Finance and Investment Committee and is a member of the National Geographic International Council of Advisors. He is president and CEO of the global executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles. Previously, he was a longstanding partner at Goldman Sachs, where, over the course of a 25-year career, he led a wide range of businesses in the United States, Asia and Latin America.

Wolstencroft also serves on other prominent boards, including as co-chair of the International Rescue Committee and as a trustee of the Brookings Institution.

“It’s been an honor to serve on the National Geographic Society Board of Trustees during the past decade and a particular honor to serve alongside Jean Case,” said Wolstencroft. “I look forward to this new leadership role and to further supporting National Geographic’s important mission of inspiring and illuminating people around the globe.”

The Society also announced today that John Fahey, outgoing chairman of the board and former CEO of the National Geographic Society, is retiring from the board. “Over nearly 20 years with the National Geographic Society, I have been amazed by the work this organization does every day to inspire people around the globe,” said Fahey. “Jean Case’s passion for social good will make her a strong leader for the board and an effective advocate for the Society. While it’s time for me to move on, I will always believe in the mission of the Society and look forward to watching what National Geographic has in store for the future.”

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization and one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. The Society funds hundreds of research and conservation projects around the globe each year and works to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism and education initiatives. For more information on the National Geographic Society, visit

Back to Top
About The National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 15,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content.

To learn more, visit or follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.