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Nuala O’Connor Steps Down as CDT CEO, Search for New Leader of Esteemed Organization Begins

The Board of Directors at the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) has announced that President & CEO Nuala O’Connor will step down at the end of September for a new role in the private sector. CDT’s Vice President of Policy Chris Calabrese and Vice President of Strategy Lisa Hayes will serve as interim co-CEOs as CDT conducts a comprehensive search for its new leader. 

“Nuala had a wonderful tenure at the helm of CDT, and advanced the policy work and the operations of the organization tremendously during her almost six years as CEO,” said William S. Bernstein, chairman of CDT’s Board and Partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP. “As CDT enters its 25th year, we’re excited to begin the search for a dynamic new leader who will keep the organization at the forefront of advancing digital rights globally. CDT’s work has never been more important.” 

In O’Connor’s time at CDT, the organization formally incorporated an office in Brussels, introduced model U.S. federal privacy legislation, became a leader on election cybersecurity, expanded its focus on student privacy issues, and drove major legislative reforms to rein in government surveillance after the Snowden revelations.

“Serving as CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology has been an incredible privilege. I’m proud of the work we have done and look forward to watching the talented team take the organization to new heights,” said O’Connor. “As I return to the private sector, I will continue to be inspired by the passion and principled advocacy of CDT.” 

Calabrese and Hayes have both been part of CDT’s leadership team for nearly five years. Calabrese currently leads CDT’s policy advocacy efforts, coordinating teams working on issues of privacy, free expression, government surveillance, cybersecurity, and more. Hayes oversees CDT’s legal advocacy in the courts, while also serving as General Counsel. 

The Board of Directors will lead the search for CDT’s new CEO with the help of a nationally known search firm.