Yale’s chief communications officer will step down after just two years at the helm of the University’s public affairs office.
Thomas Mattia, chief communications officer and special assistant to University President Richard Levin, announced Thursday that he will retire Dec. 31st. He will be replaced by his current deputy, Elizabeth Stauderman ’83 LAW ’04. Vice President and Secretary Linda Lorimer said Mattia’s previous experience in the coroporate sector helped him restructure the public relations office to streamline communication between administrators from different schools across the University.
“We knew that bringing someone of his stature would be very beneficial to Yale,” Lorimer said. “I think he helped us make great progress in all of the goals we set forward.”
Mattia was recruited to Yale in Nov. 2009 after a long career in corporate communications. In his final corporate position as senior vice president of Coca-Cola from 2004 to 2009, he said he oversaw the corporation’s rebranding as a “socially conscious” company in areas such as workers’ rights abroad and global water management. But he said he wants to finish his career in a field other than business.
“At Coca-Cola, I saw a triangle at work where business, government and civil society came together to serve greater society,” Mattia said. “In many ways, Yale fits into that triangle — Yale is about leadership and service to society.”
Even though Lorimer said she knew Mattia could stay for only a short time, she said she felt the University would benefit from his corporate experience. She and Levin charged Mattia with the task of consolidating the University’s vast communications network and creating more accessible content about University events and initiatives. Under his guidance, the Office of Public Affairs expanded to become the Office of Public Affairs and Communications — a larger body that brought together members of the Communications, Finance and Business Operations, and Information Technology Services offices. In addition to organizing external communications, this new team brought together communications officials from departments, professional schools and centers across the University in regular meetings to exchange news and ideas.
The group developed a new strategic plan to more consistently deliver news about the University to audiences around the world. Central to this strategic plan was the creation of the Yale Daily Bulletin in 2009, a more frequently updated online version of the printed calendar that the Office has traditionally published. Before Mattia departs, he will revamp the website — which will be called Yale News — to incorporate social media and feature more original content.
Lorimer said Mattia structured the Office so that employees could continually develop their skills and eventually earn internal promotions. The promotion of Stauderman, who has worked in the central office since 2010 and has led the School of Management’s communications team since 2005, represents the first ever internal appointment to the post, Lorimer said.
Stauderman also brings corporate experience to the position. After she graduated from Yale College in 1983, she took a job at a New York advertising firm and later on served as a senior executive at IBM. Stauderman said she plans to continue the efforts that Mattia began in his short tenure.
“I don’t step into the role until January, and that gives me a chance to learn as much as I can from [Mattia] over the next three months,” Stauderman said. “I think the job might even be fun.”
Mattia will return to his home in Austin in January, where he said he plans to grow grapes, lavender and olives.