Diana Marszalek 29 Aug 2018 // 12:00PM GMT
DALLAS — Jim Olson, who led United Airlines’ communications during its monumental PR crisis last year, has been named Steward Health Care’s chief communications officer.
In the newly created position, Olson will serve as chief spokesperson for Steward, the US’ largest private hospital operator. He also will be responsible for leading the company’s public image, global communications strategy, employee engagement and digital storytelling. He starts on September 1.
Olson joins Steward roughly eight months after he stepped down as United’s corporate communications SVP following two turbulent years that included the PR crisis that engulfed United when passenger David Dao was physically assaulted and dragged off a United Express flight.
Olson’s departure was preceded by a communications restructuring that followed the debacle. Former Obama administration press secretary Josh Earnest assumed the CCO role in May.
Before United, Olson had served as VP of global corporate communications at Starbucks since 2011, where he helped develop the company's digital news and employee storytelling platform, and also oversaw public affairs for Asia-Pacific and Latin America.
But he also has plenty of airline experience, after holding the corporate communications VP role at US Airways, where he managed the response to the 2009 Hudson River emergency water landing of Flight 1549. Olson spent most of the first decade of his career in the automotive industry, including seven years as a strategic communications and digital media consultant to Nissan North America.
“We are excited to welcome Jim to the Steward family at this transformative time for our company and country’s health care system. Over the course of his impressive career, Jim has distinguished himself as a world class leader and communicator,” said Steward Health Care CMO Brian Carty. “Jim’s forward-thinking mindset, global perspective, and winning attitude will make him an impactful addition to our team.”