Seth Martin: 40 Under 40 2015

Director, financial communications, GE

Seth Martin makes translating complicated financial transactions into relatable, compelling stories appear effortless.

Martin, who leads all financial communications for GE, checks his ego at the door and finds ways to connect with his audience without being condescending or pandering, all the while gaining the respect of colleagues and journalists alike.

"Seth is a highly valued member of the strategic comms team," says Deirdre Latour, GE’s CCO. "He is strategic, focused, and a relentless storyteller for GE. He is also a strong advocate for the journalist community – a rare combination in a corporate PR executive."

Coordinating the communications strategy among GE’s 8 multibillion-dollar businesses, Martin also manages media for all financial events from earnings to tax issues, and oversees digital, social, and measurement initiatives for the corporate team.

His smooth handling of high-stakes transactions from the sale of NBCUniversal to the recent decision to sell off most GE Capital assets has earned him the trust of the uppermost reaches of the company. During GE’s acquisition of Alstom’s power and grid assets – GE’s largest acquisition in history – Martin led the 24/7 newsroom and a series of large, strategic campaigns through each phase of the process.

He also serves as a senior communications adviser to the CEO, CFO, and head of investor relations.

Credited as an innovator at GE, Martin developed the company’s first completely visual earnings release and microsite, replacing an antiquated text format and distribution method and redesigning its 10-K/proxy format.

Before joining GE in 2012, Martin spent five years with Barclays, leading comms for all research and commodities business globally. He also handled media communications for the 2008 Lehman Brothers acquisition that transformed the bank’s investment operation during a volatile period.

"Seth played a key role in building the media profile of Barclays’ research department following the acquisition of Lehman Brothers," says Michael O’Looney, former head of corporate comms at Barclays, who now leads communications at Elliot asset management.

"By leading with research, we were able to position the bank as a thought leader," he adds.

- A dad to a toddler, Martin also spends time as a volunteer for City Harvest and learning improv with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre 

- As a journalist and market commentator (1999-2002), he frequently appeared on business TV networks including Bloomberg TV, Fox Business, and CNN

- After his early career in editorial at Disney, Martin remains close to his writing roots, hosting regular creative writing events with financial journalists

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