Mario L. Baeza began his career at Debevoise & Plimpton, a premier international law firm where, at the age of 29, he became the first Latino to begin as an associate and rise through the ranks to become a full partner of a major New York law firm. During his pioneering 20-year career at Debevoise & Plimpton, Mario founded and led three new major practice areas of the firm and was consistently the top or one of the top billing partners of the firm. Mario went on to become Vice Chairman and President of a major international investment bank; formed and led TCW/Latin America Partners, the region’s first private equity fund with over $300 million under management; and in 2006, founded V-Me Media Company, a public/private partnership formed with over 40 PBS public television stations to provide high quality Spanish language television broadcast programming to over 70 million U.S. households, including over 80% of all U.S. Hispanic households in the country.
Along the way, Mario was also one of the co-founders of Jazz@Lincoln Center and served as Founding Chairman of the NYC Latin Media & Entertainment Commission under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He also served on numerous corporate boards of NY Stock Exchange-listed companies, including Air Products & Chemicals, Inc., Caleres, Inc. (formerly, Brown Shoe Company), and served as the Presiding Director of Tommy Hilfiger, Inc. Mario has also Executive Produced several critically-acclaimed feature films, for one of which he composed the film’s theme song. Later, Mario formed AJM Records, which launched the career of multi-Grammy Award winning Hip Hop/R&B singer, “Ashanti,” whose first album set records for the sale of albums by a female artist and landed her in the Guinness Book of Records for being the first female artist to have five songs in the Billboard Top Ten Pop Charts at the same time, a feat equaled only by the Beatles.
Throughout his career, Mario has participated actively in U.S.-Cuba policy formulation and relations, and in 2015, Mario formed Tropix Media & Entertainment, a Cuba-focused, data-driven, content creation production and distribution company. In 2016, Tropix entered into a historic agreement to preserve the cultural legacy of the Cuban people by digitizing the entire audiovisual and radio archives of Cuba, some 500,000 hours of content, dating back to the 1920s, in the case of radio, and the 1950s, in the case of television. As part of the agreement, Tropix has preferential rights to use, own and globally commercialize any digitized archival material it selects in connection with new productions undertaken by Tropix for any medium.
Mario is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Cornell University and a graduate of Harvard Law School, where he later returned as a Lecturer in Law to teach a pioneering large lecture course entitled, “New Technology and the Law.”