David F. Demarest

Lecturer, Organizational Behavior
(650) 724-8887

David F. Demarest

Lecturer in Management

Academic Area:


For fourteen years as Stanford’s senior public affairs official, David Demarest reported to the President of the university and oversaw Stanford’s government relations – federal, state, and local, as well as community relations. For many years he also oversaw the university’s communications and special events organizations. Recently retired, he has continued to teach at both the graduate and undergraduate level at Stanford. His consulting firm, AspenLine Reputation Strategies, continues to do executive training and strategic counsel.

Demarest served four years as an assistant to President George H. W. Bush and member of the White House senior staff. As White House communications director, he worked directly with the president, the White House chief of staff and the Cabinet, and in that capacity managed a broad range of White House communications activities, including presidential speechwriting, public liaison, media relations and intergovernmental affairs.

Upon concluding his duties at the White House, Demarest served as executive vice president and director of corporate communications at BankAmerica Corp. and then as executive vice president for corporate relations and brand management at Visa International. Later, he founded AspenLine Reputation Strategies, a specialized reputation management and communications consulting firm based in Sausalito, Calif. Currently he is a lecturer at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business teaching “Political Communications: How Leaders Become Leaders,” as well as an undergraduate course “Making Sense of Strategy.” He is past Chair of the Public Affairs Council in Washington D.C., as well as past Chair of The Seminar (a global forum for communications executives). He is a member of the Arthur W. Page Society, on the Board of Directors of the Washington Political Film Foundation, and for many years he has served on the President George H. W. Bush Library Advisory Council.

Residing in Sausalito, California, Demarest is an avid backpacker, skier, and fisherman. He and his wife Dianne, endure the joy of their blended family of six lovely daughters.

Academic Appointments

  • Vice President for Public Affairs, Stanford University, 2005-2019

Insights by Stanford Business

March 19, 2021
An interview with Zoom’s CEO. A crisis-leadership playbook. A podcast on virtual presentations. And a word on how to close shop gracefully.
November 10, 2020
Political polarization may creep into the workplace. Here are some ways managers can become peacekeepers.
October 22, 2020
In this episode, we discuss how leaders can communicate effectively when their organization, brand, or reputation is under attack.
April 06, 2020
Don’t just tell your constituents how you’re responding to the pandemic, a Stanford expert says. Ask them what they want, listen to them, and then engage.

School News

April 07, 2016
Business doesn’t operate in a vacuum; it’s buffeted by the unpredictable winds of government, the media, and countless other influential groups.