Michael D. White Named Chairman of Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

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~ Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DIRECTV to Bring Business, Communications and Technology Expertise to National Nonprofit Organization ~

NEW YORK, December 10th – The Board of Directors of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids today named Michael D. White Chairman of the national, nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing substance abuse among adolescents. White assumes the Chairmanship effective today from Patricia “Pat” Russo, Chairman since 2010. Russo will work closely with White in the transition helping further the organization’s work to support families and engage with teens.

White was most recently Chairman, CEO and President of DIRECTV, the world’s leading provider of digital television entertainment services. He was named to that role in 2009 and retired in August 2015 after completing DIRECTV’s merger with AT&T.

“We are so fortunate to have Mike taking the helm of the Partnership’s Board of Directors as we enter our 30th anniversary year,” said Russo. “His track record in business and media is exceptional and his leadership style is extraordinary. With Mike joining us as Chairman, the Partnership is reaffirming its commitment to effective, groundbreaking communications that will reach even more families who are searching for answers on teen substance abuse. As Mike assumes his new role, what is most evident is his dedication, passion and his enthusiasm to make a difference in the lives of the families we exist to serve. Mike is precisely the kind of innovative leader needed to guide the Partnership at such an exciting time in the organization’s history, and at such an urgent time for the substance abuse field.”

“The Partnership’s work has never been more important given the opioid addiction crisis among our youth and I am honored to succeed Pat Russo as Chairman at this critically important time in the organization’s history,” said Mike White. “Pat has done an outstanding job leading the Partnership as it evolved to address this crisis and as digital media exploded in the daily lives of teens and young adults. No one has given more of themselves with passion and care than Pat. We owe her a deep sense of gratitude for all she has done.”

Added White, “As someone whose family has been personally touched by substance abuse, I know the difference the Partnership’s work has made and will continue to make in helping families address this issue head on. We are fortunate to have had tremendous support of the sports, media and advertising community over the past 30 years and I look forward to building on that commitment in the years to come.”

White began his career as a management consultant at Arthur Andersen & Co. and later worked at Bain & Co. He served as head of strategic planning at Avon Products and was named head of its international perfume division in the late 1980s. White then went on to work for PepsiCo for 20 years in varying capacities, including senior finance roles, as Chief Financial Officer of PepsiCo from 1998-2000 and as Vice Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo International from 2003-2009.

White currently is a member of the Board of Directors for both Whirlpool Corp. and Kimberly-Clark Corporation and is a member of the Boston College Board of Trustees.

“At a time when the Partnership is at the forefront of proven-effective programs for families that address adolescent drug use and addiction, we are thrilled to have Mike lead our Board of Directors,” said Partnership President and CEO, Marcia Lee Taylor. “Mike’s business expertise across several nationally recognized companies, coupled with the collective experience of the Partnership’s committed Board of Directors and our incredible staff, will help ensure that we continue to be the go-to resource on this issue for parents and families across the country.”

The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids’ core programs include:

The Medicine Abuse Project is an action campaign that aims to prevent half a million teens from abusing medicine. The campaign provides comprehensive resources for parents and caregivers, law enforcement officials, health care providers, educators and others.

Combining both the Partnership’s online and Helpline (1-855-DRUGFREE) resources, its Parent Support Network offers peer-to-peer support and direct assistance to families who are dealing with their teen or young adult’s substance issues. Grounded in the evidence-based principles of motivational interviewing and Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT), the Parent Support Network helps parents and other caregivers keep the lines of communication open, while empowering and caring for their child.

Above the Influence (ATI) is a national program that challenges youth, ages 12-17, to think critically about the adverse effects of drug and alcohol use and the potential negative influences surrounding them in their social and media environment. ATI encourages teens to rise about those negative influences to be their true selves.

To learn more please visit drugfree.org.

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