Director since 2011. Don Baer is Worldwide Chair and CEO of the strategic communications firm, Burson-Marsteller. His career has spanned leading roles as a media and communications executive in the public and private sectors, working for some of the world’s most important business, government and not-for-profit organizations. He has had extensive strategic, operational and creative experience at the White House, global companies and U.S. media organizations. In 2008, Don became Worldwide Vice Chairman of strategic communications firm Burson-Marsteller and Chairman of market research firm Penn, Schoen & Berland, both WPP, Inc. companies. In 2010, he was also named Chief Strategy Officer of Burson-Marsteller, taking on an additional leadership role for the firm’s worldwide management. As of 2011, he is also the co-founder and chairman of Palisades Media Ventures, co-owned with WPP, a new digital production company bringing innovative approaches to sponsored public affairs content.
From 1998 to 2007, Don helped lead Discovery Communications, home of the Discovery Channel and media properties in over 170 countries. As Senior Executive Vice President for Strategy and Development, he led global brand-building efforts; new ventures and acquisitions; new media strategy and operations, and corporate-level business development, communications, research and public policy. He managed the significant growth of Discovery’s online offerings, including acquisitions of digital media businesses and the launch of its mobile video services. He led Discovery’s expansion of public affairs content, including overseeing the Discovery/New York Times Company joint venture in the Discovery Times Channel.
From 1994-97, Don was a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton. As Assistant to the President, White House Director of Strategic Planning and Communications and, before, as Director of Speechwriting and Research/Chief Speechwriter, Don was widely recognized for his key role in the Clinton Presidency, including the historic 1996 re-election. Among other roles, he spearheaded numerous historic Presidential addresses, working on every State of the Union from 1995 – 2000.
From 1985 – 93, Don was a journalist. At U.S. News and World Report, he covered politics and the White House and oversaw national and international coverage. He also worked at The American Lawyer and has written for publications including The New York Times and POLITICO. He was a CBS News analyst in 1998-99 and has appeared on many national TV news shows.
In the 1980s, Don was a media lawyer at New York’s Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler. He serves as an advisor to several new media businesses and is a venture partner in Legend Ventures, a Washington, D.C. investment firm. He serves on not-for-profit boards of the News Literacy Project, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Don received a B.A. from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Phi Beta Kappa), a Master's in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a J.D. from The University of Virginia School of Law. Don lives with his wife, Nancy Bard, and two sons in Washington, D.C.
He currently serves as Vice Chair of the PBS Strategic Planning Advisory Group and serves on the PBS Finance and National Policy Advisory committees and on the Board of the PBS Foundation.