Darrell Smith has left his position as president and CEO of the National Waste & Recycling Association after leading the trade association since 2017.
The association’s board of trustees will search for a new person for the role. Jim Riley, NWRA’s chief counsel and senior vice president, will temporarily take charge of day-to-day leadership responsibilities, according to a news release.
NWRA announced Smith’s departure on Friday but didn’t offer an explanation for the leadership change. “NWRA’s mission is to promote and advocate for the waste and recycling industry. As part of that mission, it’s important that NWRA continues to evolve with our members by continuing to build the strategic vision of the organization,” said Don Ross, chair of NWRA’s board of trustees, in a statement.
Ross thanked Smith for his “commitment and contributions to the industry,” including Smith’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the association advocated for changes to worker regulations. He also touted Smith’s focus on waste industry safety issues and on financial improvements at the association. “We wish Darrell well in his future endeavors,” he said.
Smith brought a background in environmental industries to NWRA and was seen as a leader who could bring new perspectives to the waste and recycling sector. He came to the association from the Industrial Minerals Association - North America and had also worked for the American Chemistry Council, the National Association of Shell Marketers and other trade organizations. In an interview just after being hired in 2017, he underscored the importance of improving industry safety.
NWRA offers safety, advocacy and education services for about 700 public and private company members and says its membership includes about 70% of the North American private waste and recycling services market.
The last time NWRA went through a CEO change was in 2016, when Sharon Kneiss departed, and Kevin Kraushaar assumed the duties of acting president until Smith took the role.
NWRA’s announcement marks the second notable leadership change at a major waste trade association in recent months. David Biderman, who was executive director and CEO of the Solid Waste Association of North America for nearly eight years, departed his role in March. SWANA, cited a “changing vision” for why it’s undertaking a search for a new leader.