Navistar hires auto PR veteran for new post

CHICAGO: Navistar International, a major producer of trucks, buses and engines, has placed a sizeable chunk of its PR responsibility in the hands of Greg Elliott, an auto industry PR veteran.

CHICAGO: Navistar International, a major producer of trucks, buses and engines, has placed a sizeable chunk of its PR responsibility in the hands of Greg Elliott, an auto industry PR veteran.

Elliott, who joins the company today, fills the newly created post of VP, communication strategy. Navistar's gain comes at the expense of General Motors, where Elliott steps down as director of executive communications. His replacement has not been named.

Elliott, who has also done PR for Nissan North America and Toyota, was one of three finalists in a search conducted by search firm Egon Zehnder.

He is slated to report to Maril MacDonald, Navistar's VP of corporate communications, who last year set up her own PR firm while simultaneously overseeing Navistar's communication efforts.

Chairman John Horne has been emphasizing the importance of communications since assuming the top spot at Navistar in 1995. He is said to have worked closely with MacDonald to improve communications with employees, investment analysts and other company publics.

MacDonald said Elliott's auto industry experience was a plus, but not the determining factor in his selection. Rather, his experience working with senior executives as well as company employees won him the Navistar spot. ?We were looking for someone who can be a key player in Navistar management, someone who seems at home on the plant floor and in the boardroom,? she said.

Elliott's arrival will allow MacDonald more time to build her new firm, an arrangement Horne was willing to consent to in lieu of losing her services permanently. ?The goal (in creating the new position) was to shore up our senior communications management so I can spend more of my time with other clients,? MacDonald said.

Elliott will oversee strategy, one of three areas that report to MacDonald (the other two are branding/advertising and culture change). The company was formerly known as International Harvester and produced farm implements.

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