The National Press Club in D.C. hired Didier Saugy as its new executive director upon the retirement of long-time Club Director Bill McCarren.
According to a release, Saugy comes to Washington from the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) of Hong Kong where he served as general manager of the renowned Club “as it successfully weathered 2019 Hong Kong protests and the COVID-19 pandemic, remaining open and vibrant throughout.”
“Didier stood out as someone with the knowledge and skill to operate a city club while also understanding the needs of journalists and the importance of a free press,” 2022 NPC President Jen Judson said. “We were impressed by his ability to navigate the protests, the pandemic, and an environment often hostile to journalists, all while ensuring that the Club remained profitable.”
Club leadership was heavily involved in the search and is thrilled to have Saugy join the community, Judson said.
Saugy became general manager of the FCC in 2018, overseeing its 2,200 active members, three restaurants, two bars, and numerous workrooms for journalists.
“Didier’s commitment to protecting journalists’ rights and interests combined with his impressive culinary and business experience will invigorate the National Press Club as one of the most exciting and important places to be in Washington,” NPC President said. “I have confidence in Didier’s vision for the Club’s future, and am looking forward to working together to bring our Club to new heights.”
Saugy grew up in Nyon, a small town near Geneva in the French-speaking region of Switzerland. He began his career as a chef, training in Fechy, a place well-known for dining and wine-making. Saugy spent two years on active duty in the Swiss Army’s Alpine Corps, rising to the rank of sergeant major.
Saugy then ran his own cafe and restaurant for four years in Switzerland and then spent a decade working in New Zealand’s five-star hotels. His career then took him to Australia where he worked as an executive chef and food and beverage manager in the hotel industry in both Sydney and Melbourne, and ultimately spent several years as the executive chef and then operations manager for Zoos Victoria, which includes the Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Zoo, and Healesville sanctuary.
Saugy moved to China in 2007, working in a variety of well-known hotels as he progressed from executive chef to food and beverage manager.
The release adds: “While Saugy enjoyed his years at the FCC working with the board of directors as well as a variety of committees and members, he is looking forward to this next chapter at the National Press Club where he can apply his creativity, experience and energy to make it a place where every journalist and communicator wants to be and ensure it continues to be the best Club for journalists in the world.”
Saugy, his wife, and 8-year-old son are in the process of relocating from Hong Kong to the D.C. area.