Fairfield, CT — GE veteran Gary Sheffer plans to step down from his position as chief communications officer at the end of the year as senior director of external communications Deidre Latour takes over.

Sheffer announced his retirement today after 16 years with the company — 12 of which were spent leading GE's communications and public affairs team. Latour will succeed Sheffer in the role effective April 1. Like Sheffer, she will report to Beth Comstock, president & CEO of GE Business innovations and the company's CMO.

Prior to joining GE in 1999, Sheffer spent nearly two decades in journalism and government communications, including serving as a press aide to two New York governors. At GE, Sheffer helped bring popular initiatives like Ecomagination and GE Works to the forefront. He also worked on communications through the company's financial crisis.

“Gary has developed one of the best communications teams in the world,” Comstock said in a statement. “He has been an extremely respected and influential leader in our company for many years and has successfully helped shape and strengthen GE’s reputation during volatile times.”

Latour has been senior director of external communications since 2013 after holding various positions at GE since 2003. Before that, Latour spent six years at Edelman rising to the role of VP.

“Deirdre is a strategic communications executive with a proven track record of success," said Comstock in a statement. “Her energy, enthusiasm and knowledge will be a great asset in managing our global team to further enhance GE’s reputation.”

Sheffer is also chairman of the board of the Arthur W. Page Society. He also serves on the board of the Institute for Public Relations, GE Foundation and the GE-Reagan Scholarship Program.