Jeffrey Beard

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Jeffrey R. Beard is an American manager. He was appointed to become director-general of the International Baccalaureate (IB),[1] based in Geneva, Switzerland, starting on 1 January 2006, following the retirement of the previous director-general, George Walker.

Beard was born in Portland, Ohio, graduating in 1972 from the US Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Analytical Management. He also holds an MBA from the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh and an MS from Iowa State University. Most recently, Beard worked as division president and chief operating officer Seeds for Syngenta AG, a Swiss agribusiness based in Basel. He has also served as an officer in the US Navy (Groton, CT; Brawdy, Wales, UK) and worked for Procter and Gamble (paper products: Mehoopany, PA; Green Bay, WI) and Pioneer Hi-Bred, Int'l (Johnston, IA, USA; Paris, France; Parndorf, Austria).

Beard gave a speech at Chautauqua Institution in August 2010 on reforming education.[2] Chautauqua Institution officials later discovered the speech was not Beard's original work, as it drew heavily upon a speech given earlier in the year by Sir Ken Robinson at a TED conference.[3] According to a letter printed in the Chautauquan Daily, Beard used "identical quotes, phrasing and even anecdotes."[4] The Institution issued an apology to those who attended the talk, saying "Beard's behavior in this matter is not characteristic of the work done here at Chautauqua and violates the expectations you should have for that work. We acknowledge to you our genuine disappointment in this event."[5]

After his term at IB, Beard was hired in 2014 by GEMS Education to lead the development and innovation of its education programmes.[6]


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Preceded by
George Walker
IBO director-general
2006 - 2013
Succeeded by
Dr. Siva Kumari