Silver Lake Sumeru partner Ajay Shah named to board of Audubon Society

Silver Lake Sumeru partner Ajay Shah has joined the board of the National Audubon Society, along with U.S. Representative James Greenwood and landscape ecologist Michele Crist. Shah joined Silver Lake in 2007 and is the co-founder and managing partner of Silver Lake Sumeru, the firm’s middle market investment group. The Audubon Society also elected David Ford to succeed B. Holt Thrasher as chairman.

Press Release

The National Audubon Society today announced the election of David B. Ford to succeed B. Holt Thrasher as its chairman. Audubon also announced the appointment of three new directors to its board: Silver Lake Sumeru Partner Ajay Shah, landscape ecologist Michele Crist and former U.S. Representative James C. Greenwood.

“Audubon has a truly terrific board of directors, and we couldn’t be more pleased to welcome David Ford as chair,” said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold (@david_yarnold). “And the talents and connection that Michele, Jim and Ajay bring to the table are going to help us take things to another level.”

David B. Ford is president of DBF Associates and senior advisor to Gatemore Capital Management, LLC, a private wealth and institutional investment management firm. He is chairman of Princess Pictures, a family entertainment motion pictures and television company. He spent 33 years at the Goldman Sachs Group, where he was a managing director and co-head of global asset management.

“Audubon has a top notch management team and it has a unique opportunity to do large-scale conservation by following birds to its work,” said Ford. “I’m excited about where we’re headed — Audubon has a solid legacy and a bright future.”

Ajay Shah joined the $25-billion private-equity firm Silver Lake in 2007 and is the co-founder and managing partner of the firm’s middle market fund, Silver Lake Sumeru. Previously, he founded Shah Capital Partners and founded and managed the technology solutions business of Solectron. He was also CEO of Smart Modular Technologies, which he co-founded in 1989 and led through its public offering in 1995 to its acquisition by Solectron in 1999.

“Audubon is a sound investment,” said Shah. “Conservation is a key to our collective future, and Audubon’s strategic plan and top-notch staff are well-positioned to continue making great strides.”

James C. Greenwood is president and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) in Washington, D.C. Greenwood is a former Republican congressman who represented Pennsylvania’s 8th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2005. He served as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations from 2001 to 2004.

“Audubon’s members span the political spectrum. Audubon is a credible, authentic presence in communities because it understands that conservation isn’t a Republican or a Democratic issue — it’s everyone’s issue,” said Greenwood. “As a lifelong conservationist and birder, I’m thrilled to join Audubon’s board.”

Michele Crist is a landscape ecologist focused on developing landscape-scale modeling frameworks and restoration strategies for forests and wildlife habitats. She works with Conservation Science Partners as a science associate. She is regional director for National Audubon Society’s Central-North region and serves as president of the Golden Eagle Audubon Society in Boise, Idaho.

“I’m excited to join Audubon’s board because of the power of Audubon’s tech-savvy, science-based approach to conservation,” said Crist. “Conservation has to adapt to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and Audubon is on the leading edge of innovation.”

With total revenues in 2013 of $88.5 million, Audubon is one of the nation’s largest conservation organizations. Headquartered in New York, N.Y., the organization has 22 state offices, 44 nature centers and 463 chapters across the country, reaching more than four million people annually and playing leading roles in local and national conservation policy decisions, from Alaska to the Gulf Coast.

More about Audubon’s board of directors:

Now in its second century, Audubon connects people with birds, nature and the environment that supports us all. Our national network of community-based nature centers, chapters, scientific, education and advocacy programs engages millions of people from all walks of life in conservation action to protect and restore the natural world. Visit Audubon online at and follow @audubonsociety.