GBA Founder, President & CEO Nancy McLernon to Retire After 35-Year Tenure

WASHINGTON – Today, the Global Business Alliance (GBA) announced Nancy McLernon’s intention to retire as President and CEO at the end of the year. Ms. McLernon founded the organization in 1990 and has grown it to be the premier advocacy voice of international businesses in America. 

“It has been a true honor to serve as GBA’s President and CEO,” said Ms. McLernon. “In 1990, foreign direct investment in the United States was just ramping up and it quickly became a white-hot political issue. Yet, international companies with significant U.S. operations and employment had no voice in Washington. It was a niche that needed to be filled.”

Ms. McLernon has grown GBA from less than a dozen companies to nearly 200 of the world’s most well-known brands. The organization’s mission, promoting policies at the federal and state levels that encourage international companies to invest and create jobs here, is just as relevant today as it was three decades ago.

“On behalf of GBA’s Board of Directors, I am immensely grateful for Nancy’s leadership and innumerable contributions over the last 35 years,” said Tony O’Donnell, chair of GBA’s Board and EMD Holding’s vice president of tax. “Nancy has cemented GBA as a powerful voice for international companies that is recognized in Washington, D.C., and state capitals across the country.”

During her tenure, Ms. McLernon created a collaborative space for international companies to share the challenges they face and join together to overcome them. Under her leadership, GBA has had numerous successes over the years that have helped ensure international companies and their U.S. employees have the same opportunities to succeed in the American market as any other company.

“For 35 years, since founding the Global Business Alliance, Nancy has aided America and American communities through her tireless efforts in support of foreign direct investment and the multinational companies that create jobs, innovation and economic growth in the United States,” said Hugh Welsh, vice chair of GBA’s Board and dsm-firmenich’s president and general counsel. “We are all grateful for Nancy’s inspirational leadership and commitment not just for the success of GBA but also the millions of jobs, businesses and sustainable growth she made possible by her work.”

“Nancy has been an incredible educator and advocate for fair tax and trade policy for foreign investment in the US for the past 35 years, and her absence will be deeply felt in this space,” said Elizabeth Tong, secretary and treasurer of GBA’s Board and L’Oréal North America’s senior vice president of tax.

“I don’t think there is an association leader that has done more to grow their organization and advance the interests of the member companies than Nancy,” said Jeff Werner, chair of the Government Affairs Committee for GBA’s Board and vice president of corporate and government affairs at Panasonic Corporation of North America. “She has set a new standard for effective advocacy in Washington, DC.”

“I have had the pleasure of working with Nancy for 20 years, spanning two different inbound companies,” said Kevin Sherfey, chair of the Tax Committee for GBA’s Board and vice president of tax & treasury at BAE Systems. “Nancy is a charismatic leader who led GBA with purpose and resolve. She is a ‘rock,’ and her presence in the organization will certainly be missed.  I wish Nancy well in her future endeavors.”

“On behalf of Novo Nordisk, we thank Nancy for her vision of what could be an organization to serve as a voice for foreign investment in the U.S. and the brilliance to bring that aspiration to life,” said Paul Hoogsteden, GBA Board member at large and Novo Nordisk Inc.’s head of tax for the North Americas. “We are appreciative of her dedication to GBA, our company and America to ensure that the flow of innovation, capital and jobs to the U.S. was fostered by proper policy and fair, equitable treatment of inbound investors and continues forward after her retirement.”


GBA’s Board of Directors has appointed Jonathan Samford, GBA’s current executive vice president, as Ms. McLernon’s successor. Mr. Samford has been with the organization since 2013 and leads the group’s advocacy team. He will assume the CEO role on January 1, 2025.

“Jon has been an integral part of the GBA team for over a decade and has led the advocacy team for more than two years,” said Mr. O’Donnell. “Before joining GBA, he held several positions on Capitol Hill, working for influential Members of Congress in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Those who have worked with him know he’s a proven leader who drives for results while also prioritizing strong relationships. He has a knack for uncovering new possibilities and fostering an enthusiastic, fun work environment.”

“I am humbled to be following in the footsteps of Nancy and excited about stewarding GBA through its next chapter,” said Mr. Samford. “Without a doubt, my time with this incredible organization has been a highlight of my professional career. What Nancy has accomplished for international companies in the U.S. over the past 35 years is remarkable. I am thankful for her leadership and mentorship. Her effervescent spirit in making the organization a welcoming, collaborative experience is exceeded only by her tenacity for delivering value for its members.”