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By  , Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Donna Baker, Courtesy, GIA

From GIA, Carlsbad, Calif. - The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) today announced the appointment of Donna M. Baker to the permanent position of president, effective immediately. Baker had been serving as GIA’s acting president since May 2006.

The announcement came at the opening of the GIA Board of Governors’ regular November meeting in Carlsbad. Board Chairman Helene Fortunoff said, “The Board is very pleased to have Donna’s former interim presidency now made permanent. She has been an effective member of our senior management team for more than five years and has consistently demonstrated a drive for excellence in all aspects of the GIA experience.”

Fortunoff continued, “We have every confidence in her ability to execute the Institute’s commitment to achieve greater transparency, more accountability, a stronger level of customer focus, and a continued improvement in all our business processes.”

GIA Chairman Ralph Destino, who chaired the search committee, noted that, “We screened and interviewed a broad range of very accomplished executives from a variety of fields before reaching our final decision. Our unanimous conclusion was that Donna Baker was the best of the best. Her knowledge of the gem and jewelry industry, and her understanding of the public-benefit, nonprofit role that defines GIA’s mission will serve us well going forward. She has the complete support of our Board of Governors.”

Baker took on the job of acting president last May following the resignation of then-president William E. Boyajian. Prior to that, Baker held the office of GIA’s vice president and general counsel since February 2001.

Of her appointment Baker said, “I’m deeply honored to have been chosen to lead this amazing organization and its dedicated staff. GIA is preeminent in the field of gems and jewelry because of its unshakeable commitment to excellence and public service. I hope my contribution will further the legacy left by Robert M. Shipley and Richard T. Liddicoat, and help GIA move into the future.”

Speaking of her first priorities in assuming the role, Baker said, “The primary focus continues to be improving GIA’s services. To that end, we recently undertook an Institute-wide review of our operations and are now assessing the findings. As president, I look forward to working with the Board and the executive team in implementing a long-term strategy so that GIA can better serve both the public and the trade. I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue the work we’ve begun and to lead GIA at this exciting time in its history.”

Baker holds an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and a JD from the UCLA School of Law. She was named to the University’s Law Review from 1986 to1988, and was the Chief Comment Editor from 1987 to 1988. She is a member of the American Corporate Counsel Association, the American Bar Association, the California State Bar Association, the San Diego Bar Association and the North San Diego County Bar Association. Baker holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola Marymount University, with a triple major in sociology, psychology, and theology. She graduated magna cum laude.

She also earned her Graduate Gemologist diploma from GIA.

Baker makes her home in north San Diego County, Calif., with husband Bill and son Patrick, 10.

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