NEW YORK, NY—Peter Kerr, a former New York Times correspondent and veteran communications executive has been named Chief Communications Officer of the Markle Foundation, Zoë Baird, the Foundation’s president announced today. In this role, Mr. Kerr will be in charge of the development and management of the foundation’s public affairs and public education operation, as well as all communications strategies, media relations and key programs and projects.
“Peter’s unique range of experience will be invaluable to Markle as we continue our work to shape and promote the development of communications industries that address public needs,” said Ms. Baird. “He brings with him extensive experience in building communications strategies and has a reporter’s keen sense of what makes news.” “The Markle Foundation is dedicated to helping improve the lives of people worldwide through new opportunities created by emerging technologies,” said Peter Kerr. “I am excited to help them with such a vision.”
Before coming to Markle, Mr. Kerr was Vice President of Communications of Phoenix House, where he helped raise the profile of the substance abuse treatment organization, which operates 82 programs in eight states and has total of $100 million in revenues. He played a lead role in increasing the organization’s visibility in Congress, resulting in the introduction of legislation favorable to the organization, while at the same time raising its national profile.
Prior to that, Mr. Kerr served as Vice President of Communications and Marketing for Empire Blue Cross & Blue Shield of New York. In this role, he helped restore an historic New York brand to financial health. From 1993-95, Mr. Kerr was Senior Vice President at Bozell Sawyer Miller, a top public relations and crisis communications firms, serving Fortune 100 companies worldwide.
Mr. Kerr worked for fourteen years as a reporter, supervisor and bureau chief with the New York Times. As a reporter, he covered the rise of crack cocaine in the United States and oversaw coverage of drug production and diplomacy in countries such as Colombia, Bolivia, Thailand and Burma. He also served as a financial reporter for the Times, covering health care and insurance industries and wrote extensively on the Clinton administration’s health care reforms and the impact of managed care on the private sector.
Mr. Kerr holds a Master of Science from Columbia University’s School of Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley.