Aflac hires Flextronics executive for new communications position

New exec also has worked with Raytheon and Lockheed Martin

tadams@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 21, 2014 

Catherine Blades

Aflac said Tuesday it has created the new position of senior vice president of corporate communications, hiring the chief marketing and corporate communications officer of Flextronics.

Catherine Blades will report to Audrey Boone Tillman, executive vice president of corporate services at Aflac. Laura Kane, longtime vice president of corporate communications, remains with the company, splitting her time between New York and Columbus.

“In her new position, Blades will define, lead and integrate the implementation of Aflac’s communications strategy to proactively and effectively promote internal and external communications,” Aflac said in its release on the new executive.

Blades, with more than 20 years of communications experience, had been with Flextronics for three years. The company is a global elecronic manufacturing services firm, with its U.S. base in the San Francisco Bay area. Its headquarters is in Singapore. The firm, with annual revenue of about $25 billion, has done business with a number of business heavyweights, including Apple, Microsoft, Cisco and Ford Motor Co.

Prior to Flextronics, Blades held marketing and communications positions with defense contractors Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. The University of Southwestern Louisiana graduate also once served as executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board.

Her work with Flextronics took her to Asia, Europe and Latin and South America, according to Aflac, which does about 75 percent of its supplemental health and life insurance business in Japan. The balance is in the U.S.

“Over the last several decades, Aflac has established a strong reputation for transparency in our communications, and we view this as a critical element of our success,” Boone Tillman said in a statement. “... I believe her wide-ranging communication experience, combined with her strong leadership skills, will strengthen our many facets of communication.”

Aflac is preparing to deliver its fourth quarter and full-year 2013 earnings report to Wall Street and investors on Feb. 4.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial are expecting the company to report operating earnings per share of $1.39 on total revenue of $5.93 billion in the fourth quarter. They expect earnings of $6.17 per share on total revenue of $25.36 billion for all of 2013.

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