Mike Hayden To Step Down as President of the American Sportfishing Association

Alexandria, VA — January 23, 2001 — Michael Hayden has announced his resignation as President and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association. Hayden has held this position since August of 1993. A search for his successor will begin shortly. During the interim, Norville Prosser and Mike Nussman, long-term vice presidents’ of ASA will be responsible for day-to-day operations.

The ASA Board of Directors accepted the resignation and expressed support for the leadership that Hayden provided over the past seven years. "Mike has done an admirable job during a very difficult time for the industry," said Board Chairman Burt Steinberg. "He was selected for his deep dedication to our sport and the board thanks him for his service. We are committed to seeing that the Association continue to move forward."

Hayden served as the Governor of Kansas from 1987 to 1992 where he earned a reputation as a skilled politician and conservationist able to balance healthy natural resources while preserving opportunities for outdoor recreation. Working on behalf of the environment was second nature to the Governor who grew up an avid outdoorsman in Atwood, Kansas.

Mike Hayden earned his bachelor’s degree in wildlife conservation from Kansas State University in 1966 and after returning from decorated military service in Vietnam, followed up with a Master’s degree in biology in 1974. At the age of twenty-eight, Mike Hayden was elected to the Kansas legislature marking the beginning of a twenty-year career in Kansas politics. During that span, Hayden advanced to Speaker of the House and in 1987 was elected as the 41st Governor of Kansas. Hayden has been honored for his commitment to the environment including being named the Conservationist of the Year by the Kansas Wildlife Federation and the Nature Conservancy’s distinguished President’s Award.

Following his successful term as Governor, Hayden was appointed by President George Bush as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks where he distinguished himself as a friend to the sport fishing community. That experience helped prepare him for his next challenge.

In 1993, Hayden was tasked with pulling together various sport fishing and industry groups to form the American Sportfishing Association. Although often difficult, Hayden’s tenure has been rewarding. "These years have seen much maturity in the Association and its’ programs. The ASA has become recognized as the voice of the sport fishing industry and I am very proud of our accomplishments." Among those accomplishments Mr. Hayden cited were the partnership with the Hall Family consumer fishing shows that will help ensure a profitable Association for years to come; the rise in prominence and influence of ASA government affairs program; and the growth and development of ASA’s conservation arm, the FishAmerica Foundation which now funds grassroots fisheries improvement projects in all fifty states.

Hayden will step down from his leadership position with the Association on February 12th to reenter life in public service and natural resources policy. "I feel comfortable stepping down at a time when the Association is on a steady track with bright prospects and opportunities ahead," stated Hayden. "It has been an honor and privilege to serve the sport fishing industry and the sport of fishing, which I care so deeply about."

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is a non-profit trade organization whose members include fishing tackle manufacturers, boat builders, state fish and wildlife agencies, angler organizations, sport fishing retailers, and the outdoor media. For over 50 years, ASA and its predecessor organizations have promoted the conservation of fishery resources and environmental measures that improve the aquatic environment, in order to ensure the enjoyment of healthy fisheries by America’s nearly 50 million anglers.

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Contact: Forbes Darby, (703) 519-9691