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K Street Files: Mark Penn Out, Donald Baer Up at Burson-Marsteller

The WPP-owned public relations firm Burson-Marsteller today named Donald Baer, a former White House communications director under President Bill Clinton, as its worldwide CEO. He succeeds Mark Penn, who is heading in-house with longtime client Microsoft as corporate vice president for strategic and special projects, according to a statement today from Burson-Marsteller.

Baer joined the company four years ago and has also served as chairman of Burson-Marstellers sister research firm, Penn Schoen Berland. He will continue in that role.

Burson-Marsteller continues to be an industry leader with strategic public relations capabilities and a global footprint that few firms can match, said WPP CEO Martin Sorrell in the companys press release. I am confident the firms track record of success and its reputation for delivering results for its clients will continue under Don Baers leadership.

The move comes at a time when some of WPPs Washington, D.C., properties which include communications and lobbying shops such as QGA Public Affairs and Ogilvy Government Relations have experienced staff departures.

Baer has a long resume that includes a stint as a top executive at Discovery Communications and as a journalist for such publications as U.S. News & World Report.

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