Charles McLean designed the Borderless Consulting Group to be a platform for strategic communications services at the highest level. Under his leadership and direction, Borderless assigns teams of senior practitioners to provide bespoke communications support to governments, corporations, international organizations and philanthropies.
Mr. McLean formed the Borderless Consulting Group after serving for nine years as a Partner with London-based Portland Communications, during which time he headed Portland’s New York office and led Portland’s on-site communications teams in Astana, Kazakhstan; Amman, Jordan; and Doha, Qatar.
During the course of his career in public relations and public affairs, Mr. McLean’s work has focused on strategic communications, op-ed and speech writing, media relations, media training, crisis communications and reputation management. He has developed communications strategies for sovereign governments and government leaders, as well as for global corporations and world-renowned institutions. He has worked directly with heads of state and foreign ministers from the Middle East, Central Asia, Latin America and Africa, as well as with corporate CEOs and presidents of major non-profit institutions.
Mr. McLean began his career as a broadcast journalist with NBC News. During his fifteen years with the network he covered news in 57 countries and served for five years as NBC’s Africa Bureau Chief. In 1990 he directed the network’s coverage of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. Out of Africa, Mr. McLean won an Emmy Award for his work as a correspondent in Hong Kong during the Tiananmen Square uprising.
During the first Gulf War, McLean reported from Baghdad, Amman, Damascus, Riyadh, Dhahran, Kuwait City and southern Iraq. Beyond the Middle East, he covered the marine spy scandal in Moscow, the release of the TWA hostages, the Aquino revolution in the Philippines, the Achille Lauro hijacking, civil wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua, the Falklands (Malvinas) war in Argentina, and the search for the remains of Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele in Brazil, among many other news stories.
Building on his extensive experience in international journalism, Mr. McLean joined Hill and Knowlton Public Relations in Washington, D.C. as a Senior Managing Director. During his five years with the firm, he headed the agency’s Public Diplomacy (international) practice and created H&K Ink, a Washington-based writers’ group. Mr. McLean specialized in strategic communications, international affairs, media relations, media training and crisis management, and he frequently drafted op-ed pieces, position papers, speeches, diplomatic communications and corporate strategy documents for Hill and Knowlton’s clients.
A meeting with Klaus Schwab in the spring of 2000 led to Mr. McLean’s appointment as Director of Communications and Public Affairs for the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. His responsibilities included communications strategy and media relations as well as all external and internal communications. At the Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, and at the WEF’s special Annual Meeting in New York City after 9/11, he served as the World Economic Forum’s official spokesperson. Professor Schwab chose Mr. McLean to host the opening session of the Forum’s Annual Meeting in January of 2002.
Mr. McLean organized exclusive gatherings for top international journalists at Davos and at other WEF meetings. His guests at these events included senior government leaders and top corporate executives, including Bill Gates, John Chambers, Thabo Mbeki, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, Qatar’s Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Javier Solana, George Soros, Larry Summers, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Supachai Panitchpakdi, and the late Kofi Annan, among many others.
Mr. McLean also directed communications on-site at the Forum’s regional meetings and summits in cities throughout the world, and helped set policy and direct strategy for the foundation as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Board of Managing Directors.
During his more than two decades in public relations, Mr. McLean also served as Director of Communications for the American Museum of Natural History in New York, as a Principal in The Dilenschneider Group in New York, and as Communications Director for NetJets Europe in London.
Charles McLean received his undergraduate degree in anthropology from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, and a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Boston University.