Bechtel's Charlene Wheeless to step down

Her last day is December 31.

Charlene Wheeless

RESTON, VA: Charlene Wheeless is exiting her role as Bechtel’s principal VP and manager of corporate affairs, after working at the largest construction company in the U.S. for 10 years.

Wheeless’ last day is December 31, 2019. In memo obtained by PRWeek, chairman and CEO Brendan Bechtel and president and COO Jack Futcher credited Wheeless with having helped elevate the company’s brand and reputation.

"I joined Bechtel with a specific mission to help elevate its brand and reputation and strengthen enterprise communications," Wheeless said via email. "Having achieved our goals, this feels like the right time to pursue new challenges outside of Bechtel. I’m proud of the work my team has accomplished over the past 10 years and I look forward to what the future holds."

Her achievements include implementing a strategic approach and measurement process to strengthen Bechtel’s standing with all stakeholders, an issues management process and Bechtel’s first visual identity and messaging program, according to a memo.

Wheeless’ replacement will be announced in the future.

Almost a decade ago, Wheeless pushed Bechtel’s board to have a more proactive reputation management strategy with an emphasis on comms.

"It was a bold move to tell them basically, 'Your baby isn't ugly, but it needs a makeover,'" Wheeless said in a 2013 profile.

Previously, Wheeless was VP of comms and site executive for Raytheon intelligence and information systems and SVP of global corporate comms and marketing for American Management Systems. Prior to that, she was corporate office and VP of corporate and marketing comms at DynCorp.

Wheeless has been a PRWeek Power List honoree several times, most recently in 2018. In 2016, she was inducted into the PRWeek Hall of Femme.

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