NEW YORK—Burson-Marsteller has named former Cargill communications chief Mike Fernandez chair of its global corporate and financial practice. Fernandez has served as the chief communications officer for five large US-based corporations across diverse industries, including Cargill—where for the last six years he was responsible for communications, brand and marketing services, government relations, and corporate social responsibility—State Farm Insurance, ConAgra Foods, Cigna and US West. Before that he held marketing and public relations roles at Kodak.

WASHINGTON, DC—Healthcare communications specialist Spectrum is opening a Chicago office, led by David Zitlow, who will also spearhead the firm’s health technology practice. Prior to Spectrum, Zitlow served on the US leadership team for Burson-Marsteller, responsible for the healthcare practice. Previously he was chief marketing and communications officer for CBR Systems, a life sciences company and leader in stem cell technology. 

WASHINGTON, DC—Subject Matter, an integrated communications, government affairs, and marketing firm formed in 2015 by a merger between strategic communications firm Home Front Communications and the government relations practice of Elmendorf l Ryan, has named John Buckley as its first chief executive officer. Buckley was most recently at The Harbour Group, where he served as a managing director since 2008. He was previously deputy press secretary to Reagan-Bush '84, and subsequently press secretary to Jack Kemp both in Congress and his 1988 presidential campaign. 

LOS ANGELES—Lagrant Communications has promoted Keisha Brown to executive vice president and chair of the new health and wellness practice.

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Crosby Marketing Communications has added Katrina Hawkins as integration manager. She will help integrate multi-platform communications programs for clients, including the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration. Prior to joining Crosby, Hawkins managed major outreach and education programs at Medstar Family Choice, a leading managed care organization, and DC HealthLink, which manages implementation of the Affordable Care Act for Washington, DC.

WOODLAND HILLS, CA—JMPR Public Relations has added Brian Alexander as an account manager, operating out of a satellite office in Northern California. Prior to joining the firm, Alexander served as an automotive industry consultant, helping to launch a connected car company, contributing to media relations in the industry, and supporting the world’s first autonomous vehicle track day.