SDCTA Selects W. Mark Leslie as New President & CEO
Longtime San Diego Executive has Proven Record of Success in Telecommunications Industry and Local Philanthropy
SAN DIEGO (June 20, 2014)—The San Diego County Taxpayers Association’s Board of Directors announced it selected W. Mark Leslie today as the organization’s new President & CEO.
Leslie, 61, is a longtime telecommunications executive who has been active in numerous civic and philanthropic efforts in San Diego, having most recently served as board chairman of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce (in 2012) and United Way of San Diego (in 2010-11).
“This is a homerun for San Diego’s Taxpayers. Our search committee set out to find a leader who is passionate about our ideals, understands our non-partisan taxpayer-oriented policy role, and owns a track record of accomplishments that generates excitement among our members and the community,” SDCTA board chair Greg Stein said. “We got exactly that with Mark Leslie.”
Leslie said: “I’m honored to be given the opportunity to lead the Taxpayers Association, the region’s leading independent taxpayer watchdog. The Taxpayers Association is consistently rated as one of the most influential and trustworthy public policy institutions, and I will do all I can to ensure that reputation is well-deserved for years to come.”
Leslie’s ties to the community and experience are an excellent fit for SDCTA, which routinely helps shape major public policy initiatives like school bond financing reforms and increases to the minimum wage.
“Our elected officials, as well as the residents of San Diego County, frequently make critical economic decisions that impact our communities for decades,” Leslie said. “SDCTA excels at identifying, analyzing and presenting to decision makers, and the public, the unvarnished facts that contribute to the best possible outcomes.”
Prior to retiring from AT&T in 2012, Leslie served as vice president of External Affairs – Southern California. He also served as chairman of the AT&T California State PAC. A leader and innovator in the telecommunications industry for 40 years, Leslie also has deep roots in San Diego, having lived here for more than a half-century.
As United Way’s Board Chairman, Leslie helped stabilize revenue, reversing a lengthy decline. He was a driving force in revamping the chamber’s budgeting and membership policies and was instrumental in developing the chamber’s most aggressive budget in 15 years.
After heading Membership and Finance committees for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Leslie took over as Board Chairman two years ago. He currently serves as chair of the chamber’s Political Action Committee.
Leslie’s start in the telecommunications world began as a union member long distance switchboard operator. Through hard work and perseverance, he steadily advanced through the ranks.
At the Taxpayers Association, Leslie takes over for Interim President & CEO Sean Karafin, who took the reins when former President & CEO Felipe Monroig became a Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
“I want to thank search committee Chairman Mark Nelson and Interim President & CEO Sean Karafin for stepping up to the plate and serving this Association so well during this transition period,” Stein said.
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