Board Member

Frances Fragos Townsend

Frances Fragos Townsend

Senior Counsel, ActivisionBlizzard

Frances Fragos Townsend currently runs her own independent consulting business. Until recently, she served as the executive vice president of corporate affairs, chief compliance officer, and corporate secretary at Activision Blizzard. Prior to that, she was vice chairman, general counsel, and chief administrative officer at MacAndrews & Forbes, Inc. In her ten years there, Townsend focused internally on financial, legal, and personnel issues, as well as international, compliance, and business development across MacAndrews’ portfolio companies. Before her tenure at MacAndrews, she was a corporate partner with the law firm of Baker Botts, LLP. From 2004 to 2008, Townsend served as assistant to President George W. Bush for homeland security and counterterrorism and chaired the Homeland Security Council. She also served as deputy national security advisor for combatting terrorism from May 2003 to May 2004. Ms. Townsend spent thirteen years at the U.S. Department of Justice under the administrations of President George H. W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, and President George W. Bush. She has received numerous awards for her public service accomplishments. Townsend is a director on the board of two public companies: Chubb and Freeport McMoRan, where she chairs or serves on compliance, compensation, governance, corporate social responsibility, and executive committees. She previously served on the public boards of Scientific Games, SciPlay, SIGA, and Western Union. Townsend also serves on multiple private company boards, where she is chairwoman of one and chairs all the compensation committees. For five years, Townsend was an on-air senior national security analyst for CBS News and, before that, she was at CNN for seven years. She previously served on the DNI’s Senior Advisory Group, the CIA External Advisory Board, and the U.S. President’s Intelligence Advisory Board. Townsend is a trustee on the board of the Hospital for Special Surgery; the Atlantic Council; the Center for Strategic and International Studies; the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum; the McCain Institute; and the New York City Police Foundation. Townsend also serves on the board at the Council on Foreign Relations, on the executive committee of the Trilateral Commission, and the board of the International Republican Institute. She is a member of the Aspen Strategy Group.

Top Stories on CFR


Ian Johnson, the Stephen A. Schwarzman senior fellow for China studies at CFR, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss how Chinese filmmakers, journalists, and artists are challenging the Chinese Communist Party’s version of history. 

Climate Change

For decades, U.S. homeowners have counted on property insurance to protect them from catastrophic loss if their homes are destroyed—and the U.S. economy has rested on the functionality of that model. But as this summer’s extreme weather broke records, private companies reduced their coverage. As climate disasters become more frequent, can home insurance hold up?


If Western allies fail to send Ukraine the weapons it needs, the odds increase of the war dragging on indefinitely, at a terrible cost to both Ukraine and Russia and a growing risk to the wider world.