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NEW YORK, NY—Zoë Baird, noted lawyer and business executive, has been named President of the John and Mary R. Markle Foundation, a New York-based philanthropic organization, it was announced today by the Foundation's board of directors. Ms. Baird assumes the Markle Foundation's presidency in January 1998, succeeding Lloyd Morrisett.
"We are delighted that Zoë Baird is taking over as President of the Foundation," Markle Chairman Lewis W. Bernard said. "Her diverse background in government, business, public policy and academia, combined with her well-known abilities as a strategic thinker, make her uniquely qualified for this post. Under her leadership, we look forward to the future with great confidence."
Mr. Bernard continued: "Lloyd has been an extraordinary leader of the Markle Foundation for the past 28 years, more than a third of the Foundation's life. He has been a visionary and innovative grant-maker, a steward of the public interest and a superb colleague and mentor."
Ms. Baird, who has held prominent positions in the public and private sectors over the last 20 years, commented: "This is a tremendously exciting time to assume responsibility for Markle's work. The Foundation's areas of concentration—communications, the media, and the political process—are vitally important. I am very enthusiastic about the opportunity to build on Markle's past excellence as we race ahead in the information age."
Ms. Baird, 44, is currently Senior Visiting Scholar and Senior Research Associate at the Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut. Until late 1996, Ms. Baird was Senior Vice President and General Counsel to the Hartford-based Aetna, Inc., where for six years she was responsible for all legal and regulatory affairs and a member of the Chairman's management group.
Ms. Baird became nationally known when President William J. Clinton nominated her as the Attorney General of the United States following his election in 1992. In 1993, President Clinton named her to the prestigious President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, on which she still serves. Ms. Baird was the founder and is currently Chairman of Lawyers for Children America, a nonprofit organization concerned with the impact of violence on children, and serves on a number of corporate and public boards.
Ms. Baird was previously Counselor & Staff Executive at the General Electric Company, and also has been a partner in the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers. She served as Associate Counsel to President Jimmy Carter in his White House and was attorney/advisor in the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice. After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley's Boalt Law School, Ms. Baird was a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Albert Wollenberg in San Francisco.
Ms. Baird has written a number of articles on law and public policy, and lectures widely. She is presently researching and writing a book on governmental and business strategies for dealing with global crime issues and new technologies. She is married to Paul Gewirtz, the Potter Stewart Professor of Constitutional Law at Yale Law School. They have two children.
Regarding the Markle Foundation, Ms. Baird added: "Markle has multifaceted contributions to make—as a center for developing public policy, as a grant-making institution to promote and support important private initiatives, and as a creative investor in new communications and information technologies. Markle's challenges have never been greater - seeking to increase the promise and reduce the risks that these developments pose for personal, social and political life, both in the United States and globally."
Current Markle President Lloyd Morrisett initiated the Foundation's program in communications and information technology in 1969. He is renowned for helping found the Children's Television Workshop (CTW) which he continues to chair—producers of such critically acclaimed educational programming as Sesame Street. He has also served as Chairman of RAND.
Morrisett is currently overseeing the Markle Foundation's initiative to study and explore the potential of universal electronic communications in our society. Another principal activity is the "Media in Transition" project, a collaboration between the Foundation and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, bringing together scholars, engineers, journalists, corporate leaders, and policymakers to address the political and cultural significance of emerging communications media.
Founded in 1927, the John and Mary R. Markle Foundation, Inc. was established "to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge...and the general good of mankind. "Within this broad charter, the Foundation is currently concentrating in communications and the political process, interactive communications technology, and communications policy.
Markle Foundation works to improve health and national security through the use of information and technology. Markle collaborates with innovators and thought leaders from the public and private sectors whose expertise lies in the areas of information technology, privacy, civil liberties, health, and national security. Learn more about Markle at www.markle.org.