Southwest Airlines veteran Eichinger joins Ford's global comms team

Eichinger is responsible for developing and overseeing communications strategies for financial and legal news at the company

DETROIT: Ford Motor Company has appointed Whitney Eichinger, former senior manager of commercial communications at Southwest Airlines, as manager of finance and legal news on its global comms team.

The 15-year Southwest Airlines veteran joined Ford on July 21. She reports to Susan Krusel, manager of global news at Ford.

Eichinger is responsible for developing and overseeing communications strategies for financial and legal news at the company, "with a focus on telling our global growth story," said Krusel, via email.

Eichinger is not succeeding anyone in the position, added Krusel. The financial and legal responsibilities were recently grouped together "to best serve these business functions from a communications standpoint," she said.

Krusel added that Eichinger, who was listed on PRWeek’s 40 Under 40 list in 2012, "has a strong media relations background, managing both proactive and reactive communications as well as an aggressive approach to storytelling, which is core to our communications team’s objectives."

During Eichinger’s time at Southwest, Krusel said she supported executives such as the CFO and chief regulatory officer, making the transition to Ford natural.

Eichinger also was the main spokesperson for the airline’s US media relations arm, and she oversaw internal, external, and digital communications, according to a memo sent to Ford staffers from Ray Day, group VP of comms at the automaker.

The memo added that Eichinger’s strategic objectives in joining Ford are to improve the company’s reputation among all audiences, build purchase consideration, and expand comms capabilities and expertise.

Eichinger’s replacement at Southwest has not yet been determined, said Beth Harbin, senior director of communications at the airline. She added that Southwest is "wonderfully happy for her" and Ford will be a great addition to Eichinger’s career portfolio.

In May, Scott Monty, Ford’s former global digital comms leader, left the company. Last month, he joined Shift Communications in the newly created role of EVP of strategy.

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