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Adam Putnam named head of Ducks Unlimited

Putnam will take over as CEO April 1.

Former Agriculture Commissioner and GOP gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam has a new gig: CEO of the conservation group Ducks Unlimited (DU).

“I joined Ducks Unlimited when I was 16 and have a lifelong appreciation of the conservation work the organization accomplishes,” Putnam said in a news release announcing the move.

“It’s humbling to be chosen as DU’s CEO, and as a lifelong hunter, angler and conservationist, I look forward to building on our record of success.”

Putnam will take over the CEO position from Dale Hall starting April 1. He and his family plan to move to Memphis, where the group is headquartered. Putnam’s pay package wasn’t disclosed but Hall’s last reported salary was nearly $510,000 in 2016.

Putnam was famously defeated in the 2018 primary after President Donald Trump stepped in to endorse his opponent, Ron DeSantis. DeSantis went on to win the nomination as well as the general election.

Before that, Putnam represented the 12th Congressional District in the U.S. House before taking over as Agriculture Commissioner in 2011.

“From the outset, the CEO search committee here at Ducks Unlimited wanted to find a unique balance of conservation, policy and agriculture background in the new CEO candidate,” said DU President Rogers Hoyt.

“In Adam, we feel we have hit on all three. Not to mention he’s an approachable, passionate and visionary person, so Adam was the perfect fit.”

Added Putnam: “My vision for DU is to bring together conservation-minded folks from all walks of life, whether they’re farmers, city-dwellers, veterans, biologists, hunters…anyone who has a connection to landscapes, which is everyone.”

“If we are going to fill the skies with waterfowl, we must build a coalition of people who believe waterfowl-filled skies matter. We need to work together to reach a common goal of healthy wetlands and abundant water for wildlife, people and their communities across North America.”

DU, a Memphis-based nonprofit, has a membership of about 700,000. Hall, who is retiring in order to pass the position to Putnam, said he feels the organization will remain well-off under Putnam’s leadership.

“As the outgoing CEO, it’s definitely a bittersweet day,” Hall said.

“But I am going to retire from my position at DU knowing the organization is in very capable hands thanks to the hard work and diligence of our volunteer search committee.

“They’ve truly picked a winner in Adam and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for both Adam and Ducks Unlimited.”

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to

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