NEW YORK, September 26, 2016 – Burson-Marsteller, a leading global strategic communications and public relations firm, has named Mike Fernandez Chair of its Global Corporate and Financial Practice. Based in New York, he will spearhead client development, strategy and new offerings for the Corporate and Financial Practice worldwide.
Fernandez has served as the chief communications officer for five large U.S.-based corporations across diverse industries, including financial, technology, consumer goods and services, and health care. Most recently, he led global corporate affairs at Cargill, where for the last six years he was responsible for communications, brand and marketing services, government relations, and corporate social responsibility. He and his teams have won numerous awards and recognitions, and he has become known for leading teams that serve business aims, manage corporate crises successfully and build stakeholder relationships that solve real-world problems and enhance reputations.
“Burson-Marsteller is excited to welcome Mike Fernandez to be a key part of our global leadership team,” said Don Baer, Worldwide Chair and CEO, Burson-Marsteller, to whom Fernandez will report. “Mike is the uncommon professional with both depth and breadth across multiple communications disciplines and industries. He has been a trusted adviser to and delivered results for many CEOs and C-suite leaders facing critical issues across many sectors, and he has done this as both an expert strategic counselor and a driver of newer integrated communications approaches. Mike will bring a deep dedication to ensuring we thrive as the best ideas-driven, evidence-based, results-oriented firm in the world, and I look forward to working closely with him.”
Before joining Cargill – the world’s largest privately held company and one of the world’s leading producers and marketers of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services – Fernandez was chief communications officer for four Fortune 500 companies, including State Farm Insurance, ConAgra Foods, Cigna and US West, and before that he held marketing and public relations roles at Kodak. Earlier in his career, he served as Press Secretary to U.S. Senator Ernest “Fritz” Hollings, where at age 23 he was the youngest U.S. Senate Press Secretary ever and only the second Latino to serve in such a role.
“I’m thrilled to join Burson-Marsteller; it has long been the firm that companies engage when the stakes are highest and communications matter most,” said Fernandez. “I am impressed by the firm’s talent who are reshaping the industry, engaging new channels, empowering new stakeholders and enabling their clients to do more and be more. I am especially eager to help our clients navigate new challenges and change, and build stronger and deeper relationships with stakeholders that matter.”
Fernandez has been listed on PRWeek’s Power List of the top 50 PR professionals in the U.S., and the Holmes Report’s Influence 100 list of the top 100 PR professionals in the world. He serves on the boards of two professional organizations: The Institute for Public Relations and the Arthur W. Page Society.
Fernandez was inducted into the PRWeek Hall of Fame in 2015. He also has received the Institute for Public Relations’ Alexander Hamilton Medal, the Hispanic Public Relations Association’s first Pioneer Award, the PRSA Foundation’s Paladin Award and the Plank Center’s Milestones in Mentoring Award. In 2014 his Cargill team won PRWeek’s Global Program of the Year Award and in 2015 Fortune magazine listed Cargill among 50 “Change the World” companies that are making a positive impact on the world.
He earned a bachelor’s degree and a graduate business degree from Georgetown University.
Burson-Marsteller, established in 1953, is a leading global strategic communications and public relations firm. It provides clients with strategic thinking and program execution across a full range of public relations, public affairs, reputation and crisis management, advertising and digital strategies. The firm’s seamless worldwide network consists of 73 offices and 85 affiliate offices, together operating in 110 countries across six continents. Burson-Marsteller is a part of Young & Rubicam Group, a subsidiary of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY), the world’s leader in communications services. For more information, please visit www.burson-marsteller.com.
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