SEATTLE: Intel chief communications officer Tara Smith is leaving the semiconductor giant in early November to join Voxus PR as a managing partner, a newly created role.
Smith, who has also taken an equity stake in the B2B tech agency, will work alongside Voxus PR managing partners Justin Hall and Kevin Pedraja and partner emeritus Paul Forecki. She said she is excited by the prospect of partnering with “up-and-coming” companies and startups, as she did earlier in her career.
“I find a lot of agencies are not quite as deep on their clients’ technology or business as they potentially should be,” she said. “Voxus has this sweet spot of understanding deep technology, and understanding how to simplify and communicate in a very compelling way.”
Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, Voxus works with deep tech clients including WatchGuard, Ayar Labs, Agero, Wallaroo.AI, SpecterOps. Smith said the agency saw record 60% revenue growth in 2022, but did not comment on specific financial details.
Smith will be responsible for winning new business, driving client satisfaction and growing Voxus’ headcount. The firm declined to comment on how many staffers it currently has.
She will concentrate especially on broadening the agency’s PR services, similar to how she transformed Intel’s comms function to focus on narrative-led, data-driven, 360-degree comms on a global footprint.
Smith, who joined Intel nearly seven years ago, currently serves as CCO, corporate VP and GM of global communications, responsible for promoting and protecting the company’s reputation across all internal and external audiences.
As well as restructuring the tech company’s comms unit, she helped educate the public on semiconductors after President Joe Biden signed a $280 billion bipartisan bill to bolster the domestic production of the chips, working closely with the White House to do so.
Intel veteran Kari Aakre, senior director of technology and executive communications, will temporarily manage Smith’s responsibilities until a permanent successor is chosen. The company will conduct an internal and external search for a new CCO, Smith said.
Before Intel, Smith spent more than a decade at WE Communications as an SVP, serving as an executive lead on the agency’s Microsoft business, heading up the Windows and OEM teams. She has also held senior comms roles at Marqui, a software start-up, and Sterling Communications, a Silicon Valley-based boutique PR firm.