Jay H. Baker Reappointed to a Second Term
Elizabeth T. Peek, an investment analyst, journalist, and philanthropist, has been named chair of the Board of Trustees of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), a community college of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. Peek was reappointed to the Board of Trustees and sworn in to her new position at the board’s summer meeting. The board’s chair is elected annually to serve for a term of one year. Peek’s renewed term on the board expires June 30, 2019. Robin R. Burns-McNeill, a board trustee since 1995, was named vice chair. Burns-McNeill is serving her third term, which will expire in 2015, and chairs the Executive Committee and the Strategic Planning Committee. Peek and Burns-McNeill were appointed and reappointed by FIT’s local sponsor, the New York City Department of Education, through the Panel for Educational Policy.
Peek formerly served as vice chair and replaces Edwin A. Goodman, who chose not to seek re-election but will remain a trustee. Goodman, a general partner and co-founder of Milestone Venture Partners, became chair in 1996.
Additionally, Jay H. Baker, retired president of Kohl’s Department Stores, was reappointed for a second term to the Board of Trustees. Baker was appointed and reappointed by FIT’s local sponsor, the New York City Department of Education, through the Panel for Educational Policy. He will serve for a term that ends June 30, 2017.
Dr. Joyce F. Brown, president of FIT, said, “Ed Goodman has served as an outstanding chairman of the FIT board for 16 years. From the start, he has been an invaluable guide and sounding board, a steady source of strength and wisdom, and far-sighted and generous in every way. FIT has achieved a tremendous amount during these years, in every area of the college, which would not have been possible without strong board leadership. I am grateful that Ed’s commitment to FIT is such that he is remaining on the board. I also am extremely pleased that Liz Peek has agreed to become chair and look forward to working even more closely with her and Robin Burns-McNeill. I also am immeasurably grateful for all that Jay Baker has done for the college and am pleased that he, too, will continue as a board member.”
Peek spent nearly 20 years on Wall Street, where, in 1983, she became the first female partner of Wertheim Schroder, an investment house that is now part of Morgan Stanley. She was also the first woman to be elected president of the National Association of Petroleum Investment Analysts.
In 1990, Peek left Wall Street to raise her three children, but remained professionally active. As a freelance journalist, she has been a columnist with FoxNews.com, The Fiscal Times, and Women on the Web (http://www.wowowow.com/). She was the business columnist for The New York Sun and has also written for Avenue, The New York Observer, The Huffington Post, the Motley Fool, and Trends, a business periodical in the Middle East.
She is a supporter of New York City civic and cultural activities, focusing on public education. Her involvements include serving as past board president of Partnership with Children (formerly known as Big Sisters) and as a past board member of New Visions for Public Education and Parents in Action. Peek is currently an executive vice president of the board of Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy and served as a board and executive committee member of the School of American Ballet. She is also chairperson of The Couture Council, the fundraising organization for The Museum at FIT and is a member of the board of the FIT Foundation.
Robin R. Burns-McNeill is chair and co-founder of Batallure Beauty, a privately held company. Recently Ms. Burns-McNeill became a partner in Christian Louboutin Beauté, a joint venture between Christian Louboutin SA and Batallure Beauty. She was formerly president and CEO of several beauty and cosmetic companies, including Victoria’s Secret Beauty, Estée Lauder, Inc., and Calvin Klein Cosmetics.
Ms. Burns-McNeill serves on the Foundation Board for Cosmetic Executive Women, a nonprofit trade organization dedicated to helping women in the beauty industry. She is also a member of the board of directors of S.C. Johnson.
Hailed by industry colleagues as the “merchant’s merchant,” Jay Baker had a long and distinguished career in retailing. After studying management and marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and serving in the U.S. Army, Baker entered Macy’s training program, working his way up through the industry ranks. He joined Kohl’s in 1986. Under his 14 years of leadership, the company grew into a $5 billion-plus corporation with more than 45,000 employees and 350 stores.
Since retiring, Baker has taken up collecting sports memorabilia and dedicates his time to charitable activities. In 1999, he and his wife, Patty, established a foundation to support their interests in charitable giving. In 2001, FIT received a gift of $10 million from the Bakers to fund scholarships and FIT’s capital expansion projects. In appreciation, FIT named its business school the Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology. He serves as chairman of the FIT Foundation.
By New York State law, FIT is governed by its own 16-member Board of Trustees, which is charged with the administration of the institution and support of its mission. The board is comprised of eight trustees appointed by FIT’s local sponsor, the New York City Department of Education, through the Panel for Educational Policy; seven appointed by the gGovernor of the sState of New York; and one student trustee.
In addition to Peek, and Burns-McNeill, and Baker, board members include Amsale Aberra, Richard A. Anderman, Jay H. Baker, Judith I. Byrd, Edwin A. Goodman, Yaz Hernández, Joan B. Hornig, George S. Kaufman, Jaqui Lividini, Beverly S. Mack, Chris Casson Madden, Deirdre Quinn, Robert Savage, and the current president of the FIT Student Association, Anubhuti Swarup, a fourth- year Advertising and Marketing Communications major.
FIT is a leader in career education in art, design, business, and technology, with a wide range of programs that are affordable and relevant to today’s rapidly changing industries. Part of the State University of New York, the community college offers more than 45 majors leading to the AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees.