Suite Talk August 12, 2008

Longtime N.Y. Timesman moves to think tank

At Yale University in the 1960s, Steven R. Weisman wasn’t the best student in his economics seminar, but his professor said he took “the most journalistic approach.”

And his talent for translating complex economic issues into layman’s English helped him snag a job as a campus stringer for The New York Times. Now, 40 years later, he’s said goodbye to the Gray Lady and taken a new job, beginning Aug. 18, as editorial director and public policy fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

At the Times — where his wife, Elisabeth Bumiller, remains a Washington correspondent — Weisman honed his skills writing about the New York financial crisis of the 1970s. He also covered the war in Afghanistan in the ’80s and was City Hall bureau chief, Albany bureau chief, senior White House correspondent, bureau chief of Tokyo and of New Delhi, chief diplomatic writer and, most recently, chief international economics correspondent.

Weisman acknowledged he was tempted over the years (the night shift period, especially) to move to another news organization. But he stayed with his first gig because, well, “it’s The New York Times.”

The times, though, are changing.

“At a time when newspapers are in decline and not devoting resources on writing about policy, it’s the think tanks that are picking up the slack,” Weisman said.

He decided to take a Times buyout and move onto a new career — writing his own economic policy recommendations instead of writing about those of others.

“I’m very excited. But it’s a big, wrenching change,” Weisman said, adding dryly: “About the only thing we know about me is that I can keep a job.”

American Heart Association veteran retires

American Heart Association CEO M. Cass Wheeler dedicated his life to a single mission: “Building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.”

Now, after 35 years at the nation’s largest voluntary health organization, Wheeler is ending his 11-year tenure as CEO and retiring at year’s end. “It has been a true privilege for me to work with so many wonderful individuals in the nonprofit sector who have a passion for our cause,” Wheeler said.

Post-retirement plans?

“I’ll be working as a ‘farmhand’ to my wife on the new farm we just purchased outside Austin,” he told Suite Talk. “It’s her endeavor, but I am going to try and help out with any manual labor that I can.” Along with the farm, Wheeler told us he would like to pursue consulting on a part-time basis and is releasing a new book in January.

During his time at the American Heart Association, Wheeler worked to implement numerous causes and care initiatives and expanded awareness on new research and advocacy, including the establishment of the American Stroke Association as a division of the heart association.

New senior veep at Crosby-Volmer

New to the Crosby-Volmer International Communications’ Memphis office is Lori Guyton, who has joined the firm as senior vice president. Since June, she has been the lead account director for several of the company’s multinational clients, which means traveling back and forth from the firm’s Washington headquarters and meeting clients on the West Coast.

“We now live in a global work environment,” Guyton said when asked how she’s managing her jetsetting schedule. “So, give me a BlackBerry and a computer and, basically, I can work anywhere!”

“Crosby-Volmer’s entrepreneurial and results-oriented nature was most appealing to me, and I felt with my background in public relations I could contribute specifically to their social responsibility efforts,” she said.

On the move

Epscor/Idea Foundation Executive Director Joseph G. Danek has stepped down and handed the baton to Jim Hoehn, a senior associate at the foundation since 2003. Danek isn’t leaving the foundation, though, but moving into a new role as senior adviser, and he’s remaining senior vice president and chief operating officer of The Implementation Group, an education and research consulting firm.

He had been the foundation’s executive director since 1996.

Danek created the first Epscor program in 1979, which now facilitates more than $400 million in federal research in 25 states and two territories.

“Dr. Danek is a hard act to follow, but I have had the benefit of working with him for many years at Epscor, both in and out of government,” Hoehn said.

The switch was made Aug. 1. Already, Danek is busy working with a variety of universities, schools and nonprofit organizations to increase their competitiveness for federal research and education funding.

— Jacqueline Klingebiel and Ariel Alexovich

Suite Talk is a regular Politico feature that follows career changes, client developments and other movements in the public affairs sector. Please send news items and photos to

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