United Airlines today announced Josh Earnest has been named senior vice president and chief communications officer. Earnest brings to the company more than two decades of strategic communications expertise from the highest levels of politics and government, including as White House Press Secretary. At United, he will be responsible for developing the company’s global communications strategy, leading a world-class team to execute it, working closely with the company’s leadership to shape the airline’s public image and serving as the company’s chief spokesman.
“Josh is a proven leader and world-class communications strategist who has thrived when the stakes are the highest – and the margin for error is the smallest. He’ll play a crucial role on our leadership team as we position our brand and this company for success. I am looking forward to working closely with him to continue to expand United’s global leadership,” said Oscar Munoz, chief executive officer of United Airlines.
“United Airlines is an iconic, global brand with a long history – but it’s United’s bright future that makes me enthusiastic about joining the team. Cutting through the noise of the modern media environment is a challenge, especially in the highly competitive airline industry. United’s advantage will continue to be its customer-focused core values, dedicated employees and visionary leadership team. That’s the story that I am excited to tell,” said Earnest.
Most recently, Earnest has been a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, making appearances on the network’s leading news programs including the Today Show, Meet the Press and NBC Nightly News. Prior to that, Earnest served for eight years in the Obama White House, first as deputy press secretary before being promoted to White House Press Secretary in 2014. In 2015, Earnest was voted the “best White House press secretary I’ve worked with” by White House correspondents surveyed by Politico.
In addition to his work in front of the cameras, Earnest played a leading role behind the scenes to develop and implement an innovative communications strategy that was paired with a fully-integrated digital media presence to drive the Administration’s agenda.
His two-decade career in politics has taken him from Capitol Hill to some of the largest states and most competitive races in the country, including four presidential campaigns, statewide races in Texas and Florida and Mike Bloomberg’s first campaign for Mayor of New York.
Earnest received his degree in political science and policy studies from Rice University. He will move to Chicago this summer with his wife, Natalie and their two children. Earnest’s first day at United will be Monday, May 21.