FAIRFIELD, CT—GE has named Beth Comstock, leader of its public relations operations for the past four years, as chief marketing officer and corporate vice president of marketing, overseeing a new corporate commercial leadership team to drive marketing and sales leadership across the company. In her new position, Comstock will report to Jeffrey Immelt, GE chairman and CEO.
The move marks the first time GE has had a formal marketing organization in more than a decade.
According to Immelt, “We are making GE a more externally focused, market-driven company to better serve our customers and their future needs. While we have made good progress invigorating GE’s commercial efforts, our next step is to drive marketing leadership, in tandem with sales, across the company.
“Beth and her team will focus more resources on serving markets where GE has multiple business efforts, starting with healthcare, energy, automotive, aviation, retail and transportation industries.
Beth will be responsible for leading an invigorated marketing function and driving GE’s brand more broadly. I am confident her energy, ability to guide programs, and understanding of trends and brand building will be important assets to this effort.”
In related moves, Gary Sheffer has been promoted to general manager of GE public affairs and employee communications, reporting jointly to Comstock and Bill Conaty, GE’s senior vice president for human resources. Sheffer will oversee media and public relations, messaging and employee campaigns.
Most recently Comstock was corporate vice president of communications and led the company’s efforts to position GE’s identity through the launch of the successful “imagination at work” campaign. She will continue to oversee integrated communications in her new role.
Previously Comstock was senior vice president of NBC communications from 1996, and vice president of NBC News communications from 1993.