To: My Colleagues at National Geographic
From: Tim Kelly
Re: 30 YEARS OF EXPLORATION AND ADVENTURE — AND NEW HORIZONS
After three decades of a truly excellent adventure, I have decided to leave National Geographic and seek new terrain. Over the next few months, I’ll be working closely with John Fahey and the EMC to ensure a smooth transition, and will conclude my service at the end of this year.
Geographic has been my obsession and addiction all these years. I loved every minute and will cherish every memory, from being part of Bob Ballard’s finding the Titanic, to seeing next month’s NGM cover story on “Blood Ivory.” I know of no other organization that inspires its staff to feel as proud, fascinated and motivated about being part of something greater than themselves.
I leave the Society in what I believe is a moment of strength, with tremendous potential to make an even bigger difference in the world. The mission of the Society– to inspire people to care about the planet — is its most valuable asset, and I know that the mission is paramount in the hearts of management and staff.
The management team is a superb mix of experienced old hands and vital new blood, well suited to succeed during these volatile times. The digital expression of National Geographic is advancing in great leaps and bounds, and the re-invention of Membership is about to be unveiled. The Channel is now a global force, and the balance sheet has never been stronger. There is nothing that can stop National Geographic from fulfilling its destiny to help make the world a better place.
I will miss most the close working relationship with my friends and colleagues. It has been such a privilege to work with such a wild range of explorers, filmmakers, scientists, dreamers, crusaders, technologists and passion-filled staffers. I would like to extend a huge thanks to all of my colleagues for your support, friendship and tolerance.
Finally, I would like to thank Gil Grosvenor, John Fahey and the Trustees of the Society for allowing me to serve this unique institution for nearly 30 years. They gave me the great gift of allowing me to operate as an in-house entrepreneur and advocate for change, and to participate in a creative endeavor unlike any other on earth.
But 30 years in one base camp is enough, even one as spectacular as NGS. I will continue to look to this Society as a source of inspiration and wonder. My new plans are uncertain, and I am happy about that. It’s time for family, some whimsy, travel and contemplation before my next big adventure.
To: National Geographic Staff
From: John Fahey
Re: Tim Kelly
By now, most of you should have received word of Tim Kelly’s decision to leave the Society at the end of the year. While this is obviously a tough decision, we understand and respect it, and, as he has indicated, we’ll be working closely with him to manage a smooth transition, which I will discuss in more detail at our next all hands meeting this Thursday (9/20) at 2 p.m.
It’s hard to overstate the many contributions that Tim has made to this organization over the past three decades. He has played a key role in the evolution of our operations from a primarily English-only, print-based organization to a multi-media global force. Tim also conceived and led the development of the National Geographic Channels, which launched originally in Europe and Australia in 1997, and then rapidly expanded around the globe, premiering in the United States in 2001. Those successes have been instrumental in fueling the growth of the Society’s exploration, conservation, and educational initiatives.
I also cannot overstate how much I have valued Tim as a colleague and friend. When I first joined the Society in 1996, it was Tim who showed me the ropes, and sensitized me to the Society’s mission, about which he is so passionate. I firmly believe that we would not be as well-positioned as we are today to take on the future had I not had Tim by my side these last few years. It’s my hope — and indeed my expectation — that we’ll be working with him in new and different ways in the years ahead. In the meantime, we wish him the very best as he contemplates his next big adventure.