Josh Earnest, previously a press secretary for former President Barack Obama, will serve as senior vice president and chief communications officer for United Airlines, the latest member of Obama’s administration to cash out in corporate America.
United announced the news in a press release Thursday that Earnest will be responsible “for developing the company’s global communications strategy.”
“At United, [Earnest] will be responsible for developing the company’s global communications strategy, leading a world-class team to execute it, working closely with the company’s leadership to shape the airline’s public image and serving as the company’s chief spokesman,” United said.
Earnest’s pivot to the private sector is similar to other former Obama administration staffers, such as former campaign manager David Plouffe who became the senior vice president of policy and strategy at Uber in 2014. Plouffe has since left the transportation company and now works for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
“Josh is a proven leader and world-class communications strategist who has thrived when the stakes are the highest – and the margin for error is the smallest. He’ll play a crucial role on our leadership team as we position our brand and this company for success. I am looking forward to working closely with him to continue to expand United’s global leadership,” said Oscar Munoz, chief executive officer of United Airlines.
United has faced a number of controversies over the years, most infamously in April 2017 when a passenger was forcibly removed and dragged from the airline because his seat was bumped for another passenger.
“United Airlines is an iconic, global brand with a long history – but it’s United’s bright future that makes me enthusiastic about joining the team. Cutting through the noise of the modern media environment is a challenge, especially in the highly competitive airline industry,” said Earnest. “United’s advantage will continue to be its customer-focused core values, dedicated employees and visionary leadership team. That’s the story that I am excited to tell.”
Prior to joining United, Earnest has spent most of his time as a pundit for NBC and MSNBC.
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