COLUMBUS, GA: Aflac has named Catherine Hernandez-Blades chief brand and communications officer amid a restructure of the company’s comms and marketing departments.
The changes are effective immediately. As part of the marketing department’s restructure, Aflac’s CMO Gail Galuppo has left. She will not be replaced. Late last month, Aflac also hired Rich Williams as EVP and chief distribution officer, a newly created role.
"We are restructuring the marketing department in a way that makes sense to both growing our distribution channels and our brand," said Hernandez-Blades.
Hernandez-Blades’ previous responsibilities as SVP of corporate communications have been folded into her new role. In the newly created role, she oversees roughly 100 staffers and reports to Theresa White, president of Aflac U.S. She previously reported to the general counsel.
"I have new responsibilities which include all of the brand strategy, advertising, social media, cause marketing, and oversight of our foundation," said Hernandez-Blades. "We are combining brand with reputation. Corporate comms, creative, and cause will now be under the leadership of a single person."
Blades joined Aflac in early 2014 from Flextronics, where she was chief communications and marketing officer. Previously, Blades was VP of communications and public affairs in Raytheon's space and airborne systems business. She has also managed international and marketing communications at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and held other communications leadership positions.
Williams also reports to White. He is responsible for growth of the business and will work closely with leaders of the career and broker distribution teams to capitalize on Aflac's strategic growth objectives in the U.S.
When Aflac reported its second-quarter earnings in July, revenue was flat year-over-year, coming in at $5.4 billion. Earnings growth, however, was strong: Year-over-year, net earnings increased 30% to $713 million and diluted EPS increased almost 36% to $1.79.