NEW YORK—Gary Grates, former vice president of corporate communications for General Motors North America and one of the PR industry’s leading experts on employee communications and change management, is joining Edelman as president and global managing director of Edelman Change, a newly formed consulting practice focused on aligning corporate strategy with internal behavior through management communications.
The Edelman Change practice includes the successful and established employee engagement unit, headed by Christopher Hannegan, senior vice president, which encompasses a range of employee communications capabilities that will be supplemented over time to build a comprehensive global change communications practice.
The unit’s mission, according to Grates, is to advise clients on strengthening their ability to implement corporate strategy through management and employee engagement in order to build brands and achieve business goals in an increasingly complex, global marketplace.
During his career, Grates has counseled a number of national, multi-national and global organizations including: Caterpillar, Shell, Carrier, Novartis, Mobil, Visa International, British Airways, BellSouth, Coca-Cola, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Kerr-McGee, and Dell.
“The world’s strongest brands are now built from the inside out, by engaging and activating managers and employees to become brand ambassadors,” says Richard Edelman, CEO and president of Edelman. “Further, the need for CEOs to effectively implement corporate strategy in a manner that breeds comprehension, engagement and motivation internally has never been greater. Gary Grates is perhaps the most accomplished strategic communications professional with regard to organizational effectiveness. He will offer Edelman clients an unmatched level of expertise and counsel.”
Until July 2005, Grates was VP of corporate communications for GM in North America, where he was responsible for all communications concerning brand, products, media, employees, financial reporting and public policy for GM’s North America Region. He joined GM in September 2002 as executive director of global internal, financial, and executive communications, responsible for all company communications with GM’s global workforce of over 300,000 employees.
Prior to joining GM, Grates was chairman and president of GCI BoxenbaumGrates, a unit of GCI Group.