Charlie Baker assumed the duties as the NCAA's sixth president on March 1, 2023.
He was hired for the position on Dec. 15, 2022, as he neared the conclusion of his term as the 72nd governor of Massachusetts.
A former collegiate athlete at Harvard, Baker is credited with bringing bipartisan leadership to the state, successfully guiding Massachusetts through an exceptionally turbulent period for government officials. In addition to his two terms as governor, he has brought decades of experience spearheading transformations at high-profile institutions in the private and public sectors.
Baker has arrived at the NCAA at a moment of significant transformation. Legal shifts in the environment surrounding college sports have challenged the NCAA's ability to serve as an effective national regulator for college athletics, resulting in an untenable patchwork of individual state laws. Partnering with federal policymakers to develop a consistent, sustainable legal framework to address issues common to student-athletes and athletic departments across the country is a top and immediate priority.
A Republican governor serving a predominantly Democratic state, Baker was re-elected to a second term in 2018 with 67 percent of the vote. After eight years in office, he achieved approval ratings exceeding 75 percent, making him the highest-rated governor in the United States and one of the highest-rated elected representatives in the nation. Baker earned widespread support by taking on issues with significant real-world impacts, and approaching them in substantive, innovative and bipartisan ways. Among his accomplishments during his two terms in office, Baker unleashed unprecedented investment into Massachusetts' K-12 education system, eliminated the state's structural budget deficit while cutting taxes, and led the nation in securing renewable energy sources to respond to climate change. As governor, Baker oversaw a 43,000-member workforce and was responsible for a $50 billion annual budget.
Prior to his tenure as governor, Baker had a distinguished career in business, nonprofit and government administration. Immediately prior to being elected governor, he served as executive in residence at General Catalyst Partners, where he served as an advisor to a variety of companies working on "Responsible Innovations". In particular, he co-led the development and launch of Oscar Health, now a personalized health insurance company operating in several states with a $6 billion valuation.
Earlier in his career, Baker served as CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, a nonprofit health benefits provider. Under Baker's leadership, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care went from the verge of bankruptcy to 24 consecutive profitable quarters and a reputation as one of America's top health care plans. Prior to this, Baker served in a variety of leadership roles in Massachusetts state government, including as secretary of administration and finance, and as secretary of health and human services. In that role, he led the state's efforts to turn a billion-dollar budget deficit into a surplus and reform the K-12 education system which today leads the nation in student performance. Early in his career, Baker ran a state policy think tank focused on innovations for improving health care.
Baker is a graduate of Harvard, where he was a member of the men's varsity basketball team, and holds a Master's of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He is married to Lauren Baker, a former collegiate gymnast at Northwestern University, and father to three children (two of whom are former college athletes): Charlie, AJ, and Caroline.