BLOOMINGTON, IL: Mike Fernandez, VP of public affairs for State Farm, is leaving to go to Cargill, where he will serve as corporate VP, corporate affairs, effective mid-September.
Reporting directly to CEO Greg Page, Fernandez will be the most senior corporate affairs official for Cargill. In his new role, Fernandez will oversee global government relations, internal and external communications, corporate responsibility, knowledge management, and corporate brand management. He replaces Bonnie Raquet, who is retiring after 28 years with the company.
"We are very enthusiastic about his decision and we think he will bring great leadership to this position," Raquet told PRWeek.
Fernandez joined State Farm in 2006, moving from ConAgra Foods, where he was chief communications officer from 2003. He is one of the most senior Hispanic communications professionals and has spearheaded State Farm's multicultural outreach. State Farm told PRWeek that a replacement has not yet been named.
Prior to ConAgra, Fernandez was SVP, public affairs at Cigna from 2000-2003 and VP, PR at US West from 1996-2000. He spent nine years at Eastman Kodak—from 1987-1996—ending as director of communications and public affairs.
At 23, he became the youngest press secretary on Capitol Hill, working for US Senator "Fritz" Hollings (D-SC).