ROUND ROCK, TX and FORT WORTH, TX: Tim Doke is leaving his post as VP of corporate communications at American Airlines to take on a new communications position at Dell.
Beginning March 10, Doke will take on the role of VP of communications.
He will report to VP of corporate communications Elizabeth Allen.
"It was a decision based on the incredible opportunity to join an organization that has a sensational track record and is a leader in its field," said Doke. He will head financial communications, media relations, employee communications, public affairs, community relations, and all executive visibility programs.
Allen said she was thrilled to have Doke joining her team, and added, "As Dell becomes more global and interacts with more publics around the world, somebody of Tim's breadth of experience is really invaluable."
The creation of Doke's position is in recognition "of the increasing complexity of our business. We really needed to bring in some additional talent that had a wide range of experience," Allen explained.
The move puts to rest rumors that Allen might be replaced. Dell acknowledged last year that it was looking for a global marketing and communications leader above Allen, but the company called off the search.
Reporting to Doke will be director of corporate communications Barry French, director of public affairs Cathie Hargett, and director of internal communications David Frink.
To prepare for Doke's departure, American named MD of strategic communications Gus Whitcomb as acting MD of corporate communications. Whitcomb has held various PR roles at Aloha Airlines, America West, Greenwich Air Services, and Neale-May & Partners.
"Tim has set up a great team and a great system," said Whitcomb. "Our mission is clear: Inform our employees of the fact that we want to achieve the necessary financial measures. We're also concentrating on professional development to strengthen the team."
Doke was at American for four years, most recently dealing with the ramifications of September 11 and the economic blight of the airline industry.
Now that task falls to Whitcomb, who is "trying to get up to speed with a lot of issues that I haven't been directly involved with. We're looking at every angle of the business.
"In the midst of everything, we haven't focused on (the replacement structure)," Whitcomb added. "We're running a company that is trying to avoid financial disaster. The emphasis is on creating a smooth transition."
2003: Finalist for PRWeek's PR Professional of the Year award
1998-2003: VP, corporate communications, American Airlines
1996-1998: VP, public affairs, Brinker International
1992-1996: MD, corporate communications, American Airlines.