On Tuesday, Jan. 17, Richard McCullough, President of Florida State University, announced the hiring of Susannah Wesley-Ahlschwede as the inaugural Chief Marketing Officer of Florida State University.
“This is an exciting hire for the university, and I believe Susannah will bring a fresh perspective to help Florida State tell our story and advance our brand,” McCullough stated in a university press release sent out on Tuesday afternoon.
Wesley-Ahlschwede will be the first person at FSU to hold this position which was just recently created under McCullough’s leadership as president of the university.
As a Florida native, FSU alumna and adjunct professor of communications at FSU, Wesley-Ahlschwede will enter the position having already formed a relationship with the school.
Wesley-Ahlschwede was a frequent guest speaker at FSU, giving informational talks to students through the College of Communication & Information’s Speaker Bureau program.
The Speaker’s Bureau is a program in which “College alumni and friends donate their time to share their professional talents and experiences with our students through classroom visits, panel discussions, special events and video conferencing,” according to the program’s website.
Topics covered by Wesley-Ahlschwede included privacy communication, public speaking, networking, career advice and women in business.
Following her graduation from FSU in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies, Wesley-Ahlschwede has built a respectable career in the field of marketing and communication, working for nationally recognized brands such as Ford Motor Company, American Airlines, Shell, Porsche, Nissan and Takeda.
Some of Wesley-Ahlschwede’s most recent jobs include Vice President of Communications at the Japanese multinational pharmaceutical company Takeda, Managing Director of Communications at American Airlines, Executive Vice President at public relations and marketing consultancy firm Edelman and Enterprise & Privacy Communications Manager at Ford Motor Company.
Wesley-Ahlschwede will leave her current position as Vice President of Corporate Communications at the prescription digital medicine company Akili to take the position.
Wesley-Ahlschwede’s hiring was the culmination of a nationwide job search by the university.
The search for candidates was chaired by Michael Brady, the Bob Sasser Professor and Director for the Rockwood School of Marketing in the College of Business and conducted by the search firm Berkhemer Clayton, a business management consulting firm specializing in higher education, nonprofit and healthcare practice.
According to the university press release, the Chief Marketing Officer position was created in order to “collaborate with academic and administrative leaders to provide overall vision and strategic leadership to all university marketing.”
“FSU is a powerhouse with incredible students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, community and fans, and I’m excited for the future as we work to become a top 15 university and elevate our reputation in research, academics and innovation,” Wesley-Ahlschwede said. “My time at FSU shaped who I am today, and I can’t wait to come back to partner with our world-class team.”
The Chief Marketing Officer position created by President McCullough is likely to be a part of McCullough’s overarching goal of increasing Florida State University’s national standing in the world of higher education.
During the State of the University address in November of last year, McCullough stated that “We have bold and audacious goals, and of course we cannot accomplish them alone.”
McCullough has repeatedly reiterated his desire to take FSU into the top 15 of U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of national public universities. FSU ranked 19 in the latest edition of the ranking and has placed in the top 20 for the past four years.
Wesley-Ahlschwede begins her work as FSU’s first-ever Chief Marketing Officer on Feb. 13 of this year.