Philip Morris International hires Aaron Sherinian

Sherinian previously worked at the U.N. Foundation and Aga Khan Development Network.

Aaron Sherinian
Aaron Sherinian

NEW YORK: Philip Morris International has named Aaron Sherinian VP of global communications transformation, the tobacco company announced Monday.  

Sherinian starts later this month and will report directly to Marian Salzman, SVP of communications

Earlier this year, Philip Morris – maker of brands such as Marlboro, L&M, and Parliament - announced its commitment to a smoke-free future. The company stated that products such as vapes and e-cigarettes will eventually replace cigarettes in some markets.

In the statement announcing Sherinian’s hire, Philip Morris said it will task him with reshaping views of the company held by NGOs and activists.

Sherinian said handling communications for Philip Morris as it moves to being smoke-free was a challenge he couldn't pass up.

"The combination of an organization with as much reach as this with a problem this big and an opportunity this big with a CEO who realizes that comms can't be the afterthought and that good comms has to be at the heart of it to get it right, that for me is the chance of a lifetime," he told PRWeek.

Sherinian’s hire is the latest in a series of comms moves by Philip Morris. Earlier this month, the company hired Amanda Pierce as the newly created  head of communications for Philip Morris Limited, the U.K. and Ireland affiliate of Philip Morris International. She is based in London and report to Mark MacGregor, Philip Morris Limited’s corporate affairs director.

In April, Salzman, Havas PR North America CEO, left the agency to become Philip Morris International’s SVP of communications. She relocated to Switzerland for the newly created role and reports to the company’s CEO, Andre Calantzopoulos.

Sherinian joins from the Aga Khan Development Network, where he has been comms head since last June. The Aga Khan Development Network brings together development agencies, institutions, and programs focused on the poorest parts of Asia and Africa where development efforts are showing progress and opportunity, Sherinian told PRWeek at the time. 

In that role, he reported to His Highness the Aga Khan IV, founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network. While there, Sherinian advised Khan, developed the network’s communications strategy, worked to advance the reputation of the organization proactively and reactively, and managed the portfolio of a network of 80,000 people across 30 countries, as well as volunteers.

Before that, he worked for the United Nations Foundation. In2014, he was named chief communications and marketing officer for the foundation. He was previously VP of communications at the organization and executive director of communications and public affairs. As VP, he worked to bolster the group’s social media and expand collaboration with NGOs and corporations.

Sherinian led the U.N. Foundation’s PR efforts, media relationships, strategic outreach, and online presence since 2009. He worked on events such as the Social Good Summit, #GivingTuesday, Rio+Social, and the Momentum1000 global social media rally, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Before joining the U.N. Foundation, Sherinian was MD of public affairs at the Millennium Challenge. He has also served as a Foreign Service officer for the State Department and worked abroad in Ecuador, where he advised the ambassador on communications and led media relations for the U.S. Embassy.

Sherinian was recognized with an honorable mention for the 2017 PRWeek Award for Outstanding In-House Professional.

Editor's note: This story was updated on September 10 with comment from Sherinian.

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