Russ Dyer: 40 Under 40 2015

VP, corporate affairs, Kraft Foods

In just three years, Russ Dyer went from a communications director managing PR for one business unit at Kraft Foods Group to its VP of corporate affairs, overseeing all internal and external communications for an $18 billion food and beverage portfolio.

His mandate includes management of Kraft’s corporate, brand, division, and operations communications; creative services; and community involvement.

Most recently he’s turned his attention to the merger between Kraft and Heinz – which created the fifth-largest food and drinks company in the world – managing all external and internal communications related to the deal, including all communications for the initial announcement, as well as follow-up media enquiries and preparation for SEC filings and disclosures.

Prior to this role, he served as senior director of corporate affairs, managing a team to direct all brand PR programs, including management of agency relationships, media relations, and communications for more than 30 manufacturing facilities.

Even more impressive is that Dyer didn’t get his PR start on the corporate or issues management side. Kraft hired him in 2012 out of the consumer practice of Weber Shandwick to manage comms for the beverages business unit.

"He has a tenacity to ensure PR always has a seat at the table," says Jerry Gleason, Weber Shandwick EVP and Dyer’s manager for five years. "He not only believes that PR is a marketing discipline and not a stand-alone channel, but he also brings the insight-driven thinking to ensure PR always ‘shows up well.’"

On the agency side, Dyer worked with top-tier brands such as Snickers and Bud Light. He led media relations for the Oreo Daily Twist content marketing program, capturing a 2013 Cannes Lion award. He developed the KFC Twitter Scholarship program, which earned a Cannes Lion PR nomination and praise from the likes of Mashable.

"He’s the rare forward-looking executive who finds new and compelling ways to make integrated campaigns social at the core, but also identifies interested avenues to connect iconic brands with Millennial targets in new fresh ways," says Gleason.

He adds that Dyer’s departure "left a major hole that we have struggled to fill."

- He volunteers with the Chicago Jesuit Academy, a college preparatory middle school that offers kids with educational and economic needs access to a Catholic education in the Jesuit tradition

- Dyer serves on the International Food Information Council’s board of directors and executive committee, and has made PR measurement a priority project for the group

- He has a BS in communications and media studies from Boston College

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