Demarest to retire as vice president for public affairs

David Demarest, who is a former White House communications director, will continue teaching at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

David Demarest, vice president for public affairs at Stanford for the last 14 years, has announced that he will retire from the position at the end of February.

David Demarest

David Demarest will retire after 14 years as vice president for public affairs. (Image credit: Nancy Rothstein)

Demarest, who also serves as a lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Business, will continue to teach a management course on political communication and an undergraduate seminar on strategy.

“It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life to have served this great institution and to have led an extraordinary team of people here,” Demarest said. “I’m enormously proud of our accomplishments, and at the same time, I’m excited by the opportunity to devote more of my time to teaching and research in my favorite subjects – communications, politics, government and leadership.”

Demarest served as White House communications director for President George H. W. Bush and is writing a book of reflections on the experience. Demarest later served as executive vice president and director of corporate communications at BankAmerica Corp. and then as executive vice president for corporate relations and brand management at Visa International. He joined Stanford as vice president in 2005. He also has held the top leadership position in several national associations for public relations and government relations, most recently as chair of the Public Affairs Council in Washington, D.C., in 2017.

“We are indebted to David for his many years of service to Stanford and for the strategic counsel he has provided on so many issues critical to Stanford’s success,” said President Marc Tessier-Lavigne. “Our students, too, have benefited from David’s rich and varied leadership experiences in the field of public affairs. We wish David the very best in his next endeavors.”

Martin Shell, vice president and chief external relations officer for the university, will lead the Office of Public Affairs on an interim basis following Demarest’s departure.

Shell said he intends to conduct two national searches – one for Demarest’s successor and one to lead a new community engagement function announced earlier as part of a reorganization of external relations activities.

Last week, Shell announced the appointment of Farnaz Khadem to head the Office of University Communications at Stanford, effective March 11. Shell also is conducting a search for his successor as vice president for development and said he expects that search to conclude in the near future.

“As Stanford works to advance an inspiring long-range vision for its contributions to the world, we’re also keenly focused on listening to and engaging with the university’s many constituents in proactive and authentic ways,” Shell said. “These searches and the leadership team they will produce are a central part of our redoubled efforts to connect and engage locally, nationally and globally.”