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Mark French, publisher of CEO Update, founder of LAI, dies

Mark French

May 6, 2019

Mark French—publisher of CEO Update, president and CEO of Leading Authorities Inc., and a prominent figure in the association community—died May 3 at age 64.

French founded speakers’ bureau Leading Authorities in 1990 and added multiple business lines over the years, including live events production, a full-service video agency and publishing. LAI acquired CEO Update in 2005 and subsequently raised the bar for news coverage about and for association leaders.

“Mark was deeply committed to associations and championed CEO Update as a way to help association leaders be their best,” said Lynn McNutt, editor-in-chief.

Before launching Leading Authorities, French’s association career included executive roles at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Trucking Associations. 

His work with both Leading Authorities and CEO Update kept him in close contact with many association CEOs and at the forefront of best practices for trade groups and professional societies. 

French was the husband of Carol French; father of Kathleen, Brian and Lauren; and grandfather to Kirsten and Preston.

Following a stroke in 2015, French became an advocate for stroke awareness and prevention. Along with raising money for many organizations, he supported LAI Video’s production of “A Teachable Moment.” The film follows the lives of French and three other stroke survivors.

Funeral services will be May 14 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Bartholomew’s Church in Bethesda, Md. The family will be receiving guests there starting at 10 a.m.

Memorial donations may be made to the Center for Brain Plasticity and Recovery, jointly run by Georgetown University and the MedStar National Rehabilitation Network.