Ralph Lauren Corp. said today that Judith McHale, the former undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs at the U.S. Department of State, has joined the firm’s board.

McHale was previously on the company’s board from 2001 to 2009. Her election brings the total number of directors to 12. She will also serve on the board’s nominating and governance committee.

“In her past tenure with us, Judith consistently provided excellent insight and guidance. Her global leadership experience will be particularly valuable as we continue to strengthen and expand our business around the world,” said Ralph Lauren, chairman and chief executive officer.

McHale served as undersecretary from 2009 to earlier this year. She was president and ceo of Discovery Communications Inc., the parent firm of cable television’s Discovery Channel, from June 2004 to December 2006, and before that served as its president and chief operating officer from 1995 to 2004.

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