40 Under 40 2016: Eddie Fernandez

SVP, group director, OgilvyEarth, 34

Eddie Fernandez founded and heads up Ogilvy’s sustainability and corporate social responsibility practice, OgilvyEarth, where he leads some of the agency’s top clients through CSR and environmental communications, including Ford, Coca-Cola, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the United Nations. The decade-long Ogilvy vet grew the practice exponentially, building it out of nothing.

Most notable has been his work with Ford, where he led the team that debuted a first-of-its kind plug-in hybrid concept car with specialized solar panels on its roof, at the 2014 CES to great applause.

The launch resulted in a billion impressions that spring, helping Ford cut through the chatter and stand out as a leader. The successful year was capped off when Ford captured the Best Global Green Brand award from Interbrand and Deloitte, knocking competitor Toyota from the top slot.

Fernandez’s work on behalf of Ford spans traditional and social media, CSR, and influencer campaigns and relations throughout the U.S.

"Eddie has entered Ford’s inner circle – a trust that is not easily earned," says Ray Day, group VP of communications at Ford.

Earning that trust catapulted Fernandez to a spot on the WPP Global Team Ford leadership unit, overseeing all U.S. activities at the integrated, multi-agency WPP team that works on behalf of the automaker. Immediately his efforts heightened collaboration and integration, as well as bolstered his firm’s role on the important account, earning it new business in safety communications, product support, and event planning.

Coca-Cola also benefited from a Fernandez-led launch: its PlantBottle packaging. An aggressive partnership-based strategy aligned the soft drink maker with target audiences and influential voices, earning coverage in major outlets, speaking opportunities at important conferences and an Edison Award and Popular Science "Best of What’s New" Award.

"Eddie has been an ongoing source of creativity, knowledge and expertise since he joined Ogilvy," says Dan La Russo, MD of Ogilvy San Francisco and Denver.

- He guest lectures on sustainability issues at the Presidio Graduate School of Management in San Francisco, a leading masters program.

- A collegiate swimmer at UC Davis, he continues a strenuous fitness regime even while on the road nearly 25 weeks of the year.

- The business-savvy do-gooder is active in a number of causes, including supporting local chapters of Susan G. Komen and the California Breast Cancer Research Program.

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