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Taxpayers Association picks new CEO

Longtime telecom executive and philanthropist W. Mark Leslie was named on Friday as the new president and chief executive of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association.

Leslie replaces interim chief executive Sean Karafin, a senior policy analyst at the association who has been filling in since former president and CEO Felipe Monroig was hired as deputy chief of staff for Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

Greg Stein, who chairs the association's board of directors, said the board picked him because of his "track record of accomplishments" and the "excitement" he creates among association members and the wider community.

Leslie, 61, has lived in San Diego for the past 50 years, working in telecommunications for 40 years, starting as a unionized operator on the long-distance switchboard. Until his retirement in 2012, he was the Southern California vice president of external affairs for AT&T (NYSE: T) and also served as the chairman of the company's statewide political action committee.

Leslie's volunteer activities include chairing the United Way of San Diego in 2010-11, where he helped turnaround a long-running decline in revenues, and chairing the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce in 2012.

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