Don Baer | Brunswick Group
Don Baer

Don Baer

Senior Partner, Washington, D.C.

Don joined Brunswick Group in 2021, based in Washington, D.C., building on a career that has spanned leadership roles in business, media, government, politics and the non-profit sector.

He has deep experience creating long-term value for and helping manage the reputations of major enterprises across the world. Don works with Brunswick’s clients on their most critical issues, drawing on his background as a communications and policy strategist for leading clients, especially technology, communications, media, consulting and financial services businesses.

From 2012-18, Don was Worldwide Chair and CEO of strategic communications firm Burson-Marsteller, and, after its merger to form BCW, Global Chair from 2018-19. He joined the firm in 2007 as Worldwide Vice Chair. From 2014 - 21, Don was Chair of the Board of Directors of PBS, where he was on the Board since 2011, making him the longest serving PBS Board Chair in its 51-year history. From 2014 until its sale in 2021, Don was a member of the Board of Directors of publicly traded media company Meredith Corporation.

From 1994 – 98, Don served President Bill Clinton, as Assistant to the President and White House Director of Communications and Strategic Planning, and, before that, as Chief Speechwriter/Director of Speechwriting and Research. He played a senior role across the Administration, including in major domestic and foreign policy initiatives and President Clinton’s historic 1996 re-election campaign.

From 1998 to 2007, Don worked at global media company Discovery Communications as Senior Executive Vice President for Strategy and Development and a principal deputy to the CEO. He led corporate communications and marketing, research, public policy and corporate responsibility, along with new ventures and acquisitions and the launch of key Discovery businesses including digital media, education, mobile services and public affairs productions. He chaired the Discovery/New York Times Company joint venture in the Discovery Times Channel. His productions included the 2004 Emmy Award-winning series Decisions That Shook the World and the feature-length documentary With All Deliberate Speed about the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown vs. Board of Education decision. Don led the founding of the Silverdocs documentary festival with the American Film Institute (now AFIDocs).

Before the White House, Don was a journalist at U.S. News & World Report, as an assistant managing editor, national political reporter and White House correspondent, and at The American Lawyer. Don started his career as a media lawyer in New York City at Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler.

Don is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the Board of Directors of Planet Word and The North Carolina Beacon and on NewsGuard’s Advisory Board. In 2020, he was a Walter Shorenstein Media and Democracy Fellow and a Hauser Leader at Harvard's Kennedy School. For 15 years, he was a writer for the annual Kennedy Center Honors TV production, winning two Writers Guild of America awards. He was inducted into the North Carolina Media and Journalism Hall of Fame.

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 (Rotary Fellow) and a J.D. from The University of Virginia School of Law.