The American Alpine Club Announces Mitsu Iwasaki as New CEO

Mitsu Iwasaki previously led the Mazamas and Northwest Outward Bound School.

By Keely Dickes | June 22nd, 2020

Mitsu Iwasaki, the newly appointed CEO of the American Alpine Club. Photo: Courtesy of the American Alpine Club.


The American Alpine Club (AAC) announced today that it has selected its next Chief Executive Officer, Mitsu Iwasaki, to lead the club starting August 3.

Iwasaki is now the Executive Director of Mazamas, an alpine club founded in 1894 and based in Portland, Oregon. He also is a partner at the Outdoor Policy Outfit and serves on the boards of Big City Mountaineers, Oregon Humanities, and the Oregon State Parks Foundation.

In the past he was the executive director of the Northwest Outward Bound School for over five years, where he led rebuilding efforts, and had senior roles at both Outward Bound and Big City Mountaineers. 


[Also Read The American Alpine Club Gets Personal And Practical On Climate Change]


The AAC was founded in 1902 and has 82 chapters and sections nationally. It has since grown to 25,000 members, and remains dedicated to supporting climbers and climbing areas.

Phil Powers, present CEO of the AAC, announced his resignation last October after 15 years of leadership.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I wish to thank Phil for his outstanding leadership,” said AAC Board of Directors President Kevin V. Duncan. “His contributions to the club have been invaluable, driving significant growth and diversification of membership, and setting the stage for continued expansion and relevance.”

Iwasaki was selected through an extensive national search led by the Koya Partners, an executive search and strategic advising firm.

“At every step of the way, we challenged ourselves to be inclusive of input from our broad stakeholder community,” said Deanne Buck, the most recent past president of the AAC, and search committee chair.


[Also Read Phil Powers To Step Down As CEO Of AAC]


“We were looking for that unique individual who brought a depth of experience running organizations with significant growth, the ability to connect with the national politician and the first time climber, a track record of inspiring, building, and leading a team of dedicated professionals, and who has a deep and unabiding love and passion for climbing and the mountains. Mitsu brings all of those attributes and more,” Buck said.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Mitsu as our next CEO,” said Duncan. “Mitsu brings a strong track record of guiding organizations through periods of growth and transformation. Climbing is evolving rapidly and the AAC is leaning in. As more people are introduced to climbing through gyms and outdoor adventure films, our mission is to both share and support our passion for climbing, as well as respect the places we climb. We are more attuned to the responsibility we share to protect the public lands on which we recreate and to ensure that climbers are equipped with the knowledge and skills to keep themselves safe.”


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