The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Appoints Cliff Fleet President and CEO

  • WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia
  • /
  • December 16, 2019

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Cliff Fleet
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has appointed Cliff Fleet, current president and CEO of 22nd Century Group, business professor at William & Mary, and former president and CEO of Philip Morris USA, to serve as its ninth president and CEO effective Jan. 1, 2020.


Fleet has strong ties to the Williamsburg community. He has served as president of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation since 2014 and as a board member since 2009. He also serves as vice chair for development strategy on the board of trustees of the William & Mary Foundation. Fleet earned a bachelor’s degree in history and religion and graduate degrees in history, business administration and law from William & Mary.


“Cliff brings a lifelong passion for Colonial Williamsburg’s mission and its importance to the national debate about America’s revolutionary principles. That, combined with his demonstrated leadership and business success, makes him uniquely qualified to build on Colonial Williamsburg’s reputation as a leading voice in the story of America’s beginning,” said Thurston R. Moore, chairman of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Board of Trustees.


Fleet joins Colonial Williamsburg as the 93-year-old institution seeks to connect modern society with the men and women of the 18th century who committed themselves and their lives to the idea of freedom. He will elevate the foundation’s mission to share America’s enduring story with new and diverse audiences while improving its financial health through philanthropy, visitation and commercial profitability.


“I am honored to accept the position of president and CEO of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. I have long admired its leadership role in the Commonwealth and across America as it educates all of us on our nation’s founding principles,” Fleet said.


“Colonial Williamsburg’s future is bright, with compelling opportunities to pursue our core educational mission and expand our reach as we lead up to the nation’s 250th anniversary and the foundation’s centennial in 2026,” Fleet added. “We are uniquely positioned to shape the national dialogue in important ways that bring us together as a people by commemorating the important events related to our nation’s founding that occurred in Williamsburg. I look forward to working with Colonial Williamsburg’s talented staff and board, dedicated donors and others across the nation to share America’s enduring story.”


Fleet succeeds former President and CEO Mitchell B. Reiss, who stepped down in October after five years in the position.


Colonial Williamsburg operates the world’s largest living history museum, interpreting Virginia’s colonial capital amid the struggle for fundamental rights and independence, as well as two world-class art museums and an extensive educational outreach program that has hosted more than 30,000 teachers over three decades.


Additional information is available by visiting and, by calling 855-296-6627, toll-free, and by following Colonial Williamsburg on Facebook and @colonialwmsburg on Twitter and Instagram.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation preserves, restores and operates Virginia’s 18th-century capital of Williamsburg. Innovative and interactive experiences highlight the relevance of the American Revolution to contemporary life and the importance of an informed, active citizenry. The Colonial Williamsburg experience includes nearly 600 restored or reconstructed original buildings, renowned museums of decorative arts and folk art, extensive educational outreach programs for students and teachers, lodging, culinary options from historic taverns to casual or elegant dining, the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club featuring 45 holes designed by Robert Trent Jones and his son Rees Jones, a full-service spa and fitness center, pools, retail stores and gardens. Philanthropic support and revenue from admissions, products and hospitality operations sustain Colonial Williamsburg’s educational programs and preservation initiatives.


– CWF –

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