FAIRFIELD, CT—General Electric has named longtime public relations and marketing executive Beth Comstock as company vice chair leading GE Business Innovations. Comstock, whose career took her from corporate communications into broader management roles, will be in charge of building out GE as a Service, along with her current GE Business Innovations responsibilities leading GE Lighting, GE Ventures and Licensing, corporate marketing, sales and communications.

Comstock is the first woman in GE’s history to be named vice chair, and joins three other executives who hold the title.

"As we advance our digital capabilities, create new markets and build partnerships that enhance GE’s inventive culture and brand, Beth continues to be instrumental in delivering better, faster outcomes for our customers,” said GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt. “Beth has a proven reputation inside and outside GE for transforming the enterprise and being a catalyst for digital innovation and growth.”

She began her career in local television production in Virginia—including a brief time on camera—before making the move into public relations, holding communications and publicity jobs at CBS and Turner Broadcasting before joining GE’s NBC unit in 1993 as vice president of NBC News communications.

Comstock was named a GE company officer in 1998 when she became vice president of corporate communications. She was named GE’s first chief marketing officer in more than 20 years in 2003 and also served as president of integrated Media at NBC Universal.