USAA appoints Chris Talley as chief communications officer

He is taking over the role from Wendi Strong, who retired at the end of last year. The organization has also brought on Amber Seikaly as VP of corporate communications.

SAN ANTONIO: USAA has named a chief communications officer to replace Wendi Strong, who retired at the end of last year.

Chris Talley is taking over the communications department’s reins this month, running the unit with newly hired VP of corporate communications Amber Seikaly.

Talley was VP of corporate communications prior to Strong’s retirement, holding the position for about a year and a half, according to his LinkedIn profile. He has also served as VP of brand, communication strategy, and content, and VP of external affairs and reputation management at USAA. Before joining USAA in 2008, Talley worked at FleishmanHillard as GM for its Austin, Houston, and San Antonio offices.

Seikaly joined USAA this month after departing digital marketing company ReachLocal, where she most recently served as global VP of marketing and communications and previously as VP of global corporate communications. Prior, Seikaly held a pair of roles at Dell: communications director of social, digital, and emerging communications and communications director of business strategy.

Based in USAA’s headquarters in San Antonio, both Talley and Seikaly are reporting to CMO Roger Adams. Seikaly is supervising a team of more than 40 people, and while Talley oversees corporate communications, Seikaly is responsible for its day-to-day operations.

Talley said via email that USAA’s communications team has been undergoing other changes, including "integration with marketing, social, research, et al. to drive a seamless and consistent external and internal communications voice."

Talley played a role in the relaunch of USAA’s brand in the summer of 2014, giving it a "strong, refreshed look and feel," he said.

"What is it about serving the military that makes working here special and serving 11.5 million members? It drives all our communications, how we recruit and retain people, and how we operate and make decisions every day," Talley added. "We were founded 94 years ago by 25 officers with a commitment to serve and care for one another."

This story was updated on July 1 to correct that the team of 40-plus reports directly to Seikaly.

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