GREENSBORO, NC: Lenovo’s VP of global communications, Jeff Shafer, has departed after seven years to head up comms at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro.
Shafer now oversees communications for the university as associate vice-chancellor and chief comms officer. Overseeing a dozen staffers, Schafer reports to Chancellor Franklin Gilliam, who was hired a year ago.
"The job is essentially to lead comms and marketing efforts, help us figure out our position in the higher education landscape, and celebrate some amazing things we have," Shafer said. "It’s also about going from the best-kept secret in the UNC system to a well-known gem."
His employment at UNC Greensboro was announced at the beginning of November. His official start date was November 28. The role has been vacant for up to two years, Shafer said.
Lenovo CMO David Roman has taken on Shafer’s duties in the interim, supported by a couple other comms staffers, Shafer said. The Chinese tech conglomerate is looking internally and externally for candidates to fill the vacancy, he added.
In October, U.K.-based Charlotte West was promoted from director of PR and communications for EMEA at Lenovo to take on the role of executive director, global corporate communications.
At Lenovo, Shafer’s responsibilities included all aspects of external and internal comms, according to his LinkedIn account. His purview also extended to financial, events, sponsorships, supporting executives, social media, and public affairs. He led marketing and branding campaigns and media relations.
"There really wasn’t going to be a better place to be in the corporate world than Lenovo, so it was time to do something different, to take what I learned there and apply it in a totally different environment," Shafer said. "UNC Greensboro is a place where you can do innovative things in terms of comms and marketing. You get to build something rather than always protect something."
During his tenure, Shafer helped navigate Lenovo through a reputational crisis last year during the Superfish adware controversy.
Shafer currently serves on the UNC Chapel Hill School of Media and Journalism Board of Advisers. Last semester, he was Wells Fargo endowed chair in communications at North Carolina Central University.
Earlier in his career, Shafer worked as an SVP at FleishmanHillard and group manager, corporate comms at Sprint Nextel.