GE hires former Burson exec for PR director post

FAIRFIELD, CT: Peter O?Toole has left Burson-Marsteller after four years as director of public affairs in the firm?s Washington office to join General Electric as a director of PR.

FAIRFIELD, CT: Peter O?Toole has left Burson-Marsteller after four years as director of public affairs in the firm?s Washington office to join General Electric as a director of PR.

During the Clinton administration, O?Toole worked as a speechwriter for three-and-a-half years for then-energy secretary Bill Richardson. Prior to joining Richardson?s staff, he did some political PR work in Washington and worked as a freelance journalist in the US and Europe.

In his new position he is reporting to Gary Sheffer, GE?s executive director of communications and public affairs. He is based at the company?s Connecticut headquarters.

?Opportunities like the one that I?m now in at GE really don?t seem to appear more than once in life, even if you?re lucky,? O?Toole said. ?It?s like serving at the pleasure of the President.?

His primary account when he left Burson, a global chemicals consortium, was taken over by the firm?s John Kyte.

?Fortunately, I think my experience in government and then also in Washington in a public affairs ? setting helped me because a lot of what GE does has public policy implications,? O?Toole said. ?My experience does fit into some of the areas GE is working in terms of its global reach.?

Upon his arrival at GE, he worked on the unveiling of the company?s Ecomagination campaign, which included a major Washington event in May. As part of the initiative, GE will more than double its investments in research into cleaner technologies by 2010 and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

?I think it was being in the right place at the right time; a major GE initiative that is also a major public policy issue for the United States,? he said.

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