Jim Wunderman is President and CEO of the Bay Area Council, a CEO-led public policy and advocacy organization formed in 1945 that works to shape the future of the Bay Area and keep it as the most innovative, globally competitive, and sustainable region in the world. Since becoming CEO in 2004, Jim has dramatically expanded and deepened the Council’s reach and influence throughout the Bay Area, Silicon Valley, California, the nation and the world.
As the leading steward of the Bay Area, the Council has grown under Jim’s tenure to include more than 325 member companies across a wide range of industries. He has positioned the Council as a leading voice for business and the economy on a wide range of issues, including housing, transportation, homelessness, workforce development, early education and more. Jim opened the Council’s office in Sacramento, where he regularly appears on the list of the state’s Top 100 political movers and shakers. Governors, mayors, legislators, foreign leaders and top business executives regularly seek Jim’s input and guidance on key issues and he makes regular appearances and provides commentary across a wide range of news media.
Behind Jim’s leadership, the Council has spearheaded and partnered in numerous ballot measure campaigns that have secured tens of billions of dollars for transportation, affordable housing, early education, climate resilience, and healthcare. And he is at the helm of early efforts to create a unified vision for the growth of the Northern California megaregion, bringing the assets and economies of the Bay Area, Sacramento and the Central Valley into a common market.
Recognizing the Bay Area’s emergence on the world stage as an economic force through its leadership in technology and innovation, Jim steered the Council to play a greater role on the international stage. In particular, he launched a bold initiative in China that has grown to four Bay Area Council offices, which in turn led to the creation of a public-private partnership with the state of California to reopen its trade and investment office in China, operated by the Bay Area Council.
Jim has served on numerous boards and commissions. He currently serves as a gubernatorial appointee as Vice Chair of the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA, which develops and operates the region’s ferry system), the University of California Business Executive Council, the State of California’s International Trade and Investment Advisory Council, the Too Small to Fail Advisory Council, California-China Trade and Investment Advisory Board, Fisher Center for Real Estate & Urban Economics, Sierra Energy, TMG Partners, and Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame. Other recent board engagements included the California Pacific Medical Center, the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network, and the Oakland Zoo. Since 2008, Jim has served as a Visiting Professor at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, teaching a course in executive leadership.
Prior to his work at the Bay Area Council, Jim’s career from 1984 to 2004 was split between both the private and public sectors. He served as Chief of Staff to San Francisco Mayor Frank M. Jordan from 1992-95, following five years of work for Mayor Dianne Feinstein. From 1997 to 2004 he served as Senior Vice President for external affairs at Providian Financial Corporation. He also served as Vice President and General Manager of two major waste collection, disposal and recycling firms in the Bay Area under its parent, Recology, Inc.
Jim is a graduate of San Francisco State University, majoring in political science. He also holds an Associate’s Degree in business administration from Kingsborough College, City University of New York. Jim is married to Kristina Wunderman, has four children and resides in Contra Costa County.