CHICAGO: US Cellular, in a management reorganization, has put Karen Johnson in charge of its public relations.
Michele Merrell, promoted to VP of external communications at the wireless carrier last November, has left the company. Merrell had been with US Cellular since 1997.
Johnson had been VP of business development and government relations. Her new title is VP of public affairs and communications.
"Michele will continue to build relationships with government agencies, and now will also handle media relations, community relations, and the corporate contributions program," said Deia Lofendo, senior public relations specialist.
Johnson joined US Cellular last December. She had been a VP with Chicago PR shop Cushman/Amberg.
US Cellular is in the midst of a major brand launch in the Chicago area.
Although based there, it did not start offering cellular service in the area until November, when it acquired the local cellular assets previously used by PrimeCo.
US Cellular created a major media splash earlier this year by purchasing the naming rights for the Chicago White Sox baseball stadium, previously known as Comiskey Park (it's now called US Cellular Field). The wireless phone company will pay $68 million over 20 years for those rights. It also paid the city of Chicago $1.6 million over two years for sponsorships at a variety of city events.