We don’t know anything about the work and personal interests of Mr. Luis Ubiñas. But he’s the in-coming president of the Ford Foundation. Ford is a premier public foundation working to promote a global civil society. We hope that Mr. Ubiñas will seize the initiative to fund a variety of efforts designed to foster a global democratic digital media environment. That means funding advocacy groups representing the interests of the public as both consumers and citizens (even if it means taking on the clients that he has worked with while at McKinsey and Co.); helping fund sustainable and responsible models for multi-platform and multi-media content production; promoting a diverse range of owned and operated services that reflect the interests of and are controlled by low-income and minority/new majority groups; helping journalism make the transition to the digital era; ensuring the new media truly contributes to electoral reform. Of course, dealing with the digital divide, open broadband networks, the future of public media, and privacy must also on the agenda. Such work must address the problems in the U.S., as politically thorny as they are. [We know there’s more to add to such a list. This is just starters].
This is not meant as a self-serving comment, as we’ve been funded by Ford in the past. It’s in the spirit of being on-the-record that someone with a great deal of media industry knowledge is taking over a key philanthropic institution. And it’s occurring during a critical turning point for the future of democratic communications, in the U.S. and everywhere else.

Here’s his bio from a Digital Hollywood conference: “Luis Ubiñas is a Director in McKinsey & Company’s West Coast Media, Entertainment and Technology Practice, dividing his time between offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles and also overseeing the practice in Seattle and Denver. Since joining the Firm in 1989, he has focused on serving media, communications and technology companies undergoing major change -entering or exiting businesses or redesigning core processes. Luis has extensive experience in the telecommunications and cable industries: helping build consumer high-speed data businesses; introducing advanced digital set-top boxes and services; and, now, helping design the early VOIP trials. In cable operations, he has worked with MSOs across a broad range of activities, including channel line-up standardization, rebuild prioritization, and purchasing. Luis’ work for other media companies has been operations-focused, helping several newspapers improve circulation and advertising sales and working with content companies to improve international distribution and developing digital distribution strategies. For technology companies, Luis has worked with early entrants in the home networking, digital set-top box manufacturers and other hardware providers. In addition, he has served a large number of technology start-ups as part of his work with venture capital firms. Before joining McKinsey, Luis worked at Booz, Allen & Hamilton, concentrating on marketing and strategy assignments. He also worked briefly as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and as assistant to the CEO of the Honduran beer and soft drink (Coca-Cola) monopoly. Luis has an A.B. in government, magna cum laude, from Harvard College, and an M.B.A. (Baker scholar) from Harvard Business School. He currently serves on the Boards of the Digital Coast Roundtable in Los Angeles and the SteppingStone Foundation in Boston.”

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