NEW YORK, NY (December 8, 2008) – Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism advocacy organization, today announced the appointment of three new members to its board of directors: Artie Kempner, lead director for the NFL and NASCAR on FOX; Billy Mann, President of International A&R - Labels and President of Global Artist Management, EMI Music; and Jack Schneider, managing director of Allen & Co. LLC. Bob Wright, chairman of the board and co-founder of Autism Speaks, announced their appointment during a recent board meeting.
Mr. Kempner is the lead director for both the NFL and NASCAR on Fox. He joined Fox Sports in the fall of 1994 for its inaugural season covering the NFL. In 2001 Kempner and his production crew took over the number one team at Fox, working with Troy Aikman, Cris Collinsworth and Joe Buck. The group televised Super Bowls XXXIX and XLII. Kempner, a nine-time sports Emmy winner, is also the coordinating director of NASCAR on Fox, and directs the Sprint Cup telecasts.
Kempner, whose middle son Ethan was diagnosed with autism in 1998, is active in fundraising efforts for Autism Speaks and Autism Delaware. He is the founding president of the Autism Society of Delaware (now Autism Delaware) and a former board member of the Autism Society of America. Kempner was recently chosen as one of the three finalists for Home Depot's NASCAR Humanitarian of the Year award for, among other things, his efforts to establish the Fox Sports Supports program, and his involvement in bringing Autism Speaks and Dover International Raceway together to create the Autism Speaks 400.
Mr. Mann has been a successful music producer, songwriter and creative executive for 17 years. Having sold over 75 million albums with numerous Top 10 hits around the globe, Mann has produced and/or written songs for a wide range of chart-topping artists including: Pink, Jessica Simpson, Martina McBride, Kelly Rowland, Art Garfunkel, Take That, Joss Stone, Teddy Geiger, Ricky Martin, and Celine Dion, among others. During his career, Mann has also been a consultant to companies such as Sony Music, Zomba, Warner Chappell and Sony Pictures Television. In 2001, Mann founded independent music development company Stealth Entertainment, which represents developing songwriters, producers and artists. Stealth is now owned by EMI Music. In July 2008, Mann was appointed President of EMI's International A&R – Labels and in October added on the role of building EMI's Global Artist Management division. Mann and his wife and three children reside happily in Connecticut. His oldest son was diagnosed with autism in 2003.
Mr. Schneider has been a managing director of the investment bank Allen & Co. LLC for more than 32 years. He has served on the board of the National Mentoring Partnership for ten years, and been chairman of the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis for 23 years. He is also involved in numerous other charitable functions throughout the year.
Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 150 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The prevalence of autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.
About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention and treatments for autism, and to advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. It was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Senior Advisor at Lee Equity Partners and served as vice chairman, General Electric, and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal for more than twenty years. Autism Speaks merged with both the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) and Cure Autism Now (CAN), bringing together the nation's three leading autism advocacy organizations. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org