Gary Sheffer: Power List 2014

VP, corporate communications & public affairs, GE

2014 rank: 3
2013 rank: 5

By Mike Fernandez, corporate VP, corporate affairs, Cargill

If GE’s PR unit were a Major League Baseball team, it would be the New York Yankees.

No, not this year’s squad who seem to struggle whenever pitching sensation Masahiro Tanaka is not on the mound. We’re talking about the glory days, when the Bronx Bombers were envied and only getting better.

Gary Sheffer, GE’s VP of communications and public affairs, is simultaneously his company’s Joe Torre, the manager who always gets a little bit more out of a talented team, and also its Mariano Rivera, the ace closer who delivers victories in a pinch.

Sheffer, who oversees PR and provides communication advice to GE executives, has shown that Imagination at Work – GE’s brand expression – is a pennant under which his team has become an innovator in content creation with thought leadership websites such as Ideas Lab and Txchnologist and a crisp storytelling machine across other channels.

An influential proponent of corporate transparency, Sheffer has successfully guided GE through some tough innings in the last few years, from GE’s federal tax controversy to the unwinding of NBCUniversal, the bolting on of new businesses, and the repositioning of GE Capital (GE’s financial arm).

Some people in baseball talk of a sweet spot where the baseball recoils off the bat soaring hundreds of feet out of the field of play to put a score on the board. At GE, the sweet spot for communications begins with a thoughtful professional by the name of Gary Sheffer.

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