Chobani taps Weber Shandwick's Michael Gonda to lead comms

Chobani has brought on Weber Shandwick VP Michael Gonda to lead its communications team after reshuffling the group last year.

NORWICH, NY: Chobani has hired Michael Gonda, formerly VP and director of corporate communications and corporate issues at Weber Shandwick, as VP of corporate communications.

Gonda, who started in the role on Monday, functions as the head of PR at the Greek yogurt company, he said via email. He is reporting to chief brand and marketing officer Peter McGuinness.

Chobani’s communications was previously led by CCO Nicki Briggs, who exited her role at the company last fall, along with several other in-house PR staffers. At the time of Briggs’ departure, McGuinness told PRWeek that Chobani planned to depend more heavily on its agency partners, including PR AOR Weber Shandwick, advertising agency Droga5, and shopper marketing firm Mars Advertising.

Weber was brought on as AOR for the brand in September 2013, following a competitive review. Chobani previously worked with FleishmanHillard.

Gonda’s main tasks include "continuing to fuel passion through internal and external communications, as well as consumer loyalty, and launching a battery of new products," he said in the email.

Gonda added that his major objective for the brand is to "propel Chobani’s narrative and amplify its story" among existing and future consumers, media, and influencers. He will also collaborate with the company’s internal social media and marketing teams and its agency partners to drive awareness and consumer demand, he said.

Gonda wrote that the company "has dramatically changed dairy aisles in America, and this is an incredible opportunity to be part of that movement and part of Chobani's next chapter."

Earlier this year, Gonda was promoted to VP at Weber Shandwick after serving as a director and leading accounts in the corporate communications and corporate issues practice, according to his LinkedIn profile.

From 2012 to 2013, Gonda worked in the corporate communications practice in Weber’s Beijing office. He started at the firm in 2010 as an account executive in New York.

Before Weber, Gonda worked as a freelance journalist, according to his LinkedIn account.

Last month, Laura Herbert, previously director of PR for Chobani, left the company to serve as director of global innovation communications at Nike.  

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