Deirdre Latour | Influence 100
Charting the future of public relations

Deirdre Latour

VP and CCO
GE
United States


Deirdre Latour took over her role as  Gary Sheffer stepped down from his position as chief communications officer in 2015. She now leads the company’s communications strategy globally, including financial communications, public relations, public affairs, functional talent development and helping to shape the company’s culture.  She also leads the company’s business sustainability initiative, Ecomagination.

She said in a Forbes Q&A earlier this year about her approach to communications — “We view communications as completely boundaryless. There are no internal communications and external communications. Other companies tend to have corporate communications and organizational communications. At GE, we call it culture communications.” 

She also endorsed a style of speaking directly “regardless of the audience, internal or external, your messaging must be direct. People want straightforward responses, even if your response isn’t enough. Years ago, messaging used to be much more nuanced. Nowadays, there’s a significant amount of influence from lawyers and others within an organization. As communicators, we have to fight for truth, honesty and the delivery of facts. As contentious as the relationship can be between a PR professional and a journalist, we need each other to be incredibly strong.”

Prior to being named CCO, Latour served as GE’s senior director, external communications. In that role she was responsible for building and executing a communications strategy to enhance and protect the reputation of GE, including financial communications, issues and crisis management and executive communications for the CEO, CFO and CMO.  

Before joining GE ten years ago, she worked for the global public relations firm Edelman, where she was a vice president, responsible for a variety of corporate communications, brand, cause, consumer and entertainment marketing efforts for clients such as Jazz at Lincoln Center, ACUVUE and GM.  
  
“Deirdre is a strategic communications executive with a proven track record of success," GE Vice chair Beth Comstock said when LaTour rose to the role that Comstock once held. “Her energy, enthusiasm and knowledge will be a great asset in managing our global team to further enhance GE’s reputation.”