François Baird is a founder and chairman of Baird’s CMC Ltd, Baird’s US LLC and Calbridge Investments (Pty) Ltd. Baird’s CMC is an international communications management consultancy with 47 partners across the world. He is Co-Chairman, Africa of Taylor Advisories, the boutique M&A firm headquartered in Washington DC and is also the founder of the FairPlay anti-dumping trade movement.
François consults to boards, top management and leaders internationally on issues, communication and strategy. He has served clients in the USA, Africa, India, Europe and the Middle East. His specialties are crisis management, community creation, communication strategy, public affairs, corporate reputation risk assessment and management, and market entry strategies. He consults to governments, international institutions and companies. He has worked in a range of sectors including health, financial services, ICT, agriculture, mining, consumer, energy, development and education. He has a special interest in developing countries and institutions.
François is a Board member of the Child Witness Foundation. He also serves on the Board of the Presidential Precinct and is an advisor to its Young Africa Leaders Initiative (YALI) program.
As a political and election advisor since 1988, he has managed election campaigns for President Chiluba of Zambia, for President Chissano in Mozambique and advised on election campaigns in various other African countries.
François is an American citizen who was born in South Africa, grew up on a farm in its Northwest province, started his career on the gold mines, attained a degree in international politics and political science at the University of Pretoria and served as a commissioned officer in the SA Air Force. He founded his own business in 1987, following various corporate management positions at Gold Fields of SA, Small Business Development Corporation and Sappi, the South African multi-national forestry products company. He is emeritus Chairman of Africa, of Daniel J Edelman Inc and emeritus Board member of The Montpelier Foundation, where he served a term as Treasurer and Finance Committee Chairman.