Greg Efthimiou: 40 Under 40 2014

Director, corporate communications, Duke Energy
Age: 37

Greg Efthimiou has proved he can keep a cool head in a crisis. While dramatic boardroom coups are rare in the energy industry, this is what happened as Duke Energy completed its drawn-out and tempestuous $32 billion merger with Progress Energy.

"In a matter of hours, the previously agreed upon CEO was out, the incumbent leader was ushered back, and months of recriminations and bitter acrimony ensued," recalls Virginia Mackin, who was the company’s CCO at the time. "I knew I needed a rare talent to unite, inform, and engage the combined company’s shell-shocked and fractured workforce of 29,000 employees. I turned to Greg."

Efthimiou joined the company in 2008 and rapidly rose up the ranks by continually displaying an ability to navigate tricky communications assignments, earning the trust of the company’s most demanding senior leaders, and ensuring positive PR outcomes.

Hired to serve as the chief editor, principal writer, and project manager for Duke Energy’s flagship annual publication The Sustainability Report, his work quickly earned him a role leading PR efforts for the company’s wind and solar power business.

Amid a time of meteoric growth for the sector, he helped ensure Duke Energy gained fantastic earned and social media coverage at national, state, and local levels.

He also served as communications lead in the 18-month period while Duke and Progress awaited the green light to merge. When the merger was completed in 2012, Efthimiou took charge of the efforts to bridge the gap between employees from the two companies, helping bring people together and look to the future.

Today he leads the creation of more than 250 articles, videos, blogs, and discussion forums each year, plus a series of programs to boost links between staff and managers. In addition, Efthimiou has championed the use of digital and social media to help the company reach out to employees, especially those without regular access to computers.

"Greg is an anchor, " explains Mackin, currently the VP of communications and brand management at Ingersoll Rand. "He is an innovator and fearless. I am struck by the wisdom and maturity he possesses."

 

• Efthimiou earned a Roy H. Park Fellowship to attend the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

• He was recognized as the school’s Outstanding Master of Arts in Mass Communication Graduate in 2008

• Since 2008, Efthimiou has served as co-chair of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies Alumni Corps at the University of Richmond

• He is highly active in his community, devoting time to both the Special Olympics and the Make-A-Wish Foundation

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