Don Baer, worldwide chair and CEO, Burson-Marsteller: Power List 2016

2016 rank: 31

I first came to really know Don when my letter ran on PRWeek about the lack of black males reporting to the top 10 global PR agency CEOs.

Don reached out to me to say, "I have worked in a number of industries, and this is the least diverse sector I have ever known. I want to help change that." I was impressed with Don’s honest and candid observation. 

He is indeed an agent of change, recently rehiring Chris Foster as a direct report as worldwide EVP. Half of Burson’s summer internship program are minorities, and the agency has expanded diversity and inclusion efforts across the board. 

When I think of the global CEO of a top 10 PR agency of the future, I think of Don for the following reasons: Agency experience as Burson’s vice chair; client-side experience as a Discovery Communications executive; government experience as President Clinton’s White House comms director and chief speechwriter; top-tier media experience as a senior journalist; law firm experience as a practicing attorney; and amazingly strong relationships, including with respected journalists such as Tom Friedman and Alan Murray, among other major media execs.

Don is a working CEO, deeply engaged with clients. He is leading the firm in big strides on its integrated comms offerings while deepening its traditional dedication to giving clients the best service. For Don, all change is about helping Burson and  clients achieve even greater success.

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