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United Airlines Announces Leadership Promotions

United Airlines promoted Josh Earnest to executive vice president of communications and advertising and Terri Fariello to executive vice president of government affairs and global public policy

By Todd R. Berger

9.20.23 United Airlines promotes Josh Earnest
United Airlines promoted Josh Earnest to vice president of communications and advertising. | Courtesy of United Airlines

Chicago-based United Airlines announced two leadership promotions within its executive team. Josh Earnest is promoted to executive vice president of communications and advertising and Terri Fariello is promoted to executive vice president of government affairs and global public policy. Both will remain on United’s executive team.

“Over the last few years, United has enjoyed a significant competitive advantage by having our policy and communications leaders at the table for every major decision we’ve made, especially during the extraordinary disruption caused by the pandemic,” says Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines. “That structure only worked because Josh and Terri are professionals at the top of their game. Their counsel and strategic insight will continue to be essential as we implement our ambitious United Next plans.”

Brett Hart, president of United Airlines, adds, “Josh and Terri are an integral part of our executive team and have helped enable every major action we’ve taken as an airline these past few years. They have each transformed and elevated the work of their teams, and I know their strategic counsel will continue to make essential contributions to our success.”

Earnest joined United Airlines in 2018 as senior vice president and chief communications officer. He leads the airline’s global communications and advertising strategies and serves as the company’s chief spokesman.

Before joining United Airlines, Earnest spent two decades in politics and government, including as White House Press Secretary from 2014 to 2017 and as an analyst for NBC News from 2017 to 2018.

Under Earnest’s direction, United developed a more integrated approach to communications—public relations, social media, advertising, employee engagement, and investor and executive communications—that helped drive awareness of the company’s leadership during the pandemic as well as industry-first investments in technology, sustainability, and the customer experience. The airline has seen a boost in its reputation and overall standing, recently named among Time’s Most Influential Companies, Fast Company’s Brands That Matter, Fortune’s Most Admired Companies, Ad Age’s Marketer of the Year, and PRWeek’s Best In-House Comms Team. Earnest’s team also launched the airline’s first new brand campaign in a decade—Good Leads The Way—which tells the story of United’s leadership in areas like customer service, diversity, and sustainability, and captures the optimism fueling the airline’s large ambitions.

Throughout his career, Earnest has received recognition for leadership in communications, including regularly appearing on PRWeek’s annual “Power List.” His leadership extends into the community, too, serving on the board of trustees at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, the board of directors at the Harry S. Truman Library Institute in Missouri, and, most recently, the board of trustees at his alma mater, Rice University in Houston, Texas.

9.20.23 United Airlines promotes Terri Fariello
United promoted Terri Fariello to executive vice president of government affairs and global public policy. | Courtesy of United Airlines

Fariello joined United Airlines in 2017 as a senior vice president. Based in Washington, D.C., she leads the company’s federal, state, and international government engagement, including environmental affairs. Before joining United, Fariello spent 16 years at Exxon Mobil, most recently serving as vice president of their Washington, D.C., office, leading the company’s federal and state government affairs.

In her time at United Airlines, Fariello has helped to open and sustain constructive lines of communications with two different presidential administrations as well as with state and local leaders on both sides of the aisle. Her team successfully manages geopolitical issues and domestic and international policy proposals that have the potential to impact commercial aviation. She has positioned United Airlines as a trusted partner among federal, state, and international government officials, and during the pandemic, Fariello and her team were instrumental in driving support for the Cares Act. More recently, her team spearheaded efforts at the federal and state levels in support of legislation to further develop sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production.

Under Fariello’s direction, United Airlines has set a course to be 100% green by 2050 by reducing greenhouse gas emissions 100% without relying on traditional carbon offsets and has invested in the future production of over three billion gallons of SAF—the most of any airline in the world.

Fariello is regularly recognized for leadership in government relations, including being named to Washingtonian magazine’s list of “Most Powerful Women,” The Hill’s “Top Lobbyists,” a top lobbyist by The National Institute for Lobbying & Ethics, and as one of the most influential people shaping policy by Washingtonian. Her impact is also felt outside of the industry. She serves on the board of directors of Energy Vault, which develops and deploys utility-scale energy storage solutions designed to transform the world’s approach to sustainable energy storage. And within the greater Washington, D.C., community, Fariello serves on the board of multiple organizations, including the Economic Club of Washington, the Humane Rescue Alliance (where she serves as the chair of the board), the Meridian International Center, Ford’s Theatre, and the National Archives Foundation.