COLUMBUS, GA—Aflac has hired Catherine Blades to the newly created position of senior vice president, corporate communications, reporting to Audrey Boone Tillman, executive vice president, corporate services. Most recently, Blades served as chief communications and marketing officer at Flextronics where she was responsible for several areas, including corporate communications and public affairs. Previously, she was vice president of communications and public affairs at Raytheon Company's Space & Airborne Systems business.

WASHINGTON, DC—Justin Cole, currently press secretary to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, has been named director of the office of public affairs for the Federal Trade Commission. He replaces Peter Kaplan, who had been acting director and returns to his previous post of deputy director.

NEW YORK—Peter Taback has joined Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health as chief communications officer. Taback has extensive experience in HIV/AIDS communication, promotion and distillation of research, and community health advocacy. Prior to joining the Mailman School, he served as vice president of communications and external affairs at The New School and earlier was vice president of communications and marketing at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and was director of communications at amfAR.

BILLERICA, MA—American Science & Engineering, a worldwide provider of threat and contraband X-ray detection solutions, has named Laura Berman vice president, corporate communications. In a newly created role, she will join the company's senior leadership team and be responsible for all of AS&E's corporate communications, including internal and external communications. Most recently, she served as director of corporate communications at AS&E, overseeing all external and marketing communications efforts for the company.

PITTSBURGH—Gateway Health, a leading managed care organization, has hired Horace Highland as its new public affairs and program development manager for Ohio. He will act as a liaison between the Ohio community and Gateway Health, providing community outreach and generating awareness of Gateway and its programs. Most recently, Highland was a principal health benefits consultant for Highland Insurance.