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Press Release · March 8, 2011

Three Assume Key Roles at PPIC

John Bryson Elected Board Chair—Kimberly Belshé, Robert Gleeson Join Senior Staff

SAN FRANCISCO, March 8, 2011— The Public Policy Institute of California welcomed a new chair of its board of directors and announced two additions to its senior staff today.

John Bryson, retired chairman and CEO of Edison International, has been elected chair of the PPIC board. Bryson’s career has spanned the public and private sectors, with a focus on energy, the environment, and the economy. Bryson has served as president of the California Public Utilities Commission and chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board, and was a co-founder and attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. He was elected to the PPIC board in 2008. His term as board president begins tomorrow. Bryson succeeds Walter B. Hewlett, director of the Center for Computer Assisted Research in the Humanities at Stanford University.

Kimberly Belshé is joining PPIC as senior policy advisor. She will serve as a resource to PPIC staff and the broader policy community on fiscal, governance, and health and social service issues, and related policy reforms.

Belshé brings to PPIC a wealth of experience in leadership positions in state government. She currently serves on the five-member board of the state’s new Health Benefit Exchange Board, which will create a marketplace for consumers and small businesses to shop for health insurance, starting in 2014. Belshé was secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency throughout Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s tenure. In this capacity she was a member of the governor’s cabinet and his chief advisor on health, social services, and rehabilitative policies. She previously held a number of leadership positions in state government, including deputy secretary of the then-Health and Welfare Agency and director of the Department of Health Services for Governor Pete Wilson. She holds a master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University. Belshé will work from the PPIC Sacramento Center when her term appointment begins on March 14.

Robert Gleeson is joining PPIC in the newly created position of vice president of research. Gleeson will oversee PPIC’s research efforts, providing intellectual leadership and strategic direction to advance PPIC’s mission. As PPIC’s senior research manager, Gleeson will also hold the Thomas C. Sutton Chair in Policy Research.

Gleeson has been the director of the interdisciplinary Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University for the last eight years and has also served as adjunct professor of public administration at the university. He is one of four co-directors of the PASCAL International Observatory, a global network of government officials, higher education administrators, donors, and researchers. Previously he was executive director of the Center for Economic Development of the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University. He has a master’s degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a doctorate in history and policy from Carnegie Mellon University. Gleeson assumes his new role on March 14.

“We are excited that these three dynamic and experienced leaders are taking on key roles at PPIC,” says Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of PPIC. “Their talents will be invaluable in our efforts to improve public policy and shape a better future for California.”

In addition to Baldassare, Bryson, and Hewlett, the current board members are Ruben Barrales, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce; María Blanco, Vice President, Civic Engagement California Community Foundation; Gary K. Hart, former state senator and state secretary of education; Robert Hertzberg, partner at Mayer Brown, LLP; Donna Lucas, CEO of Lucas Public Affairs; David Mas Masumoto, author and farmer; Steven Merksamer, senior partner at Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Mueller & Naylor, LLP; Constance L. Rice, co-director of The Advancement Project; and Thomas Sutton, retired chairman and CEO of Pacific Life Insurance Company.

More information about the PPIC board is available at


PPIC is dedicated to informing and improving public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research on major economic, social, and political issues. The institute was established in 1994 with an endowment from William R. Hewlett. As a private operating foundation, PPIC does not take or support positions on any ballot measure or on any local, state, or federal legislation, nor does it endorse, support, or oppose any political parties or candidates for public office.