Francois Baird

Francois Baird is a founder and chairman of Baird’s CMC, Baird’s US and Calbridge Investments. Baird’s CMC is an international communications management consultancy with 45 partners in 17 countries and employs approximately 500 people. He is also the founder of the FairPlay anti-dumping trade movement.

Francois consults to boards, top management and leaders internationally on issues, communication and strategy. He serves clients in the United States, Africa, India, Europe and the Middle East. His specialties are market entry strategies, public affairs, corporate reputation risk assessment and management, communication strategy and crisis management. He consults to governments, international institutions and companies. He has worked in a range of sectors, including health, financial services, information and communication technology, agriculture, mining, consumer, energy, development and education. He has a special interest in developing countries and institutions.

Francois is a board member of the University of Pretoria Centre for Communication and Reputation Management as well as The Child Witness Foundation. He serves on the board of the Presidential Precinct and is an advisor to its Young Africa Leaders Initiative. In addition, he is a board member and treasurer of James Madison’s Montpelier and also serves on the advisory council of the Initiative for Global Development. He is also co-chairman of Africa for Taylor Advisory, the boutique M&A firm based in Washington, D.C.

As a political and election advisor since 1988, he has managed election campaigns for President Frederick Chiluba of Zambia and for President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, and he has advised on election campaigns in various other African countries.

Francois is an American citizen who was born in South Africa, grew up on a farm in its North West province, started his career in the gold mines, attained a degree in international politics and political science at the University of Pretoria, served as a commissioned officer in the South African Air Force and founded his own business in 1987, following various corporate management positions at Gold Fields of South Africa, Small Business Development Corporation and Sappi, the South African multinational forestry products company. He is also emeritus chairman for Africa, of Daniel J. Edelman.