NEW YORK—Charlene Fern, a speechwriter for First Lady Laura Bush since January 2001, has been named director of executive communications at Merck & Co. She will report to Joan Wainwright, vice president of public affairs.
In her new role, Fern, will be responsible for establishing the strategic direction of the company’s executive communications programs, including development of communications materials—including speeches, presentations, articles and a range of other communications tools designed for internal audiences, business leaders, government officials and policy makers, the investment community, shareholders, and others—for the chairman and other members of the management committee.
In addition to serving as Mrs. Bush’s speechwriter, Fern was also responsible for a variety of White House press office and communications duties. Previously, she was a speechwriter in the office of Texas attorney general John Cornyn, and in office of then-governor George Bush. Her career in journalism included positions with the Galveston Daily News, the San Diego Union-Tribune, and The Vista Press.
The search was handled by Lisa Ryan of Heyman Associates, one of the nation’s largest senior-level corporate communications executive search firms.