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Jon Yates named vice president for Global Marketing and Communications

Serving as co-interim vice president since January, Yates has 30 years of experience in media, marketing and communications
Jon Yates joined Northwestern in 2017 as director of media relations in the Office of Global Marketing and Communications. Since October 2020, he has served as assistant vice president of communications, leading efforts in media relations, crisis, emergency and internal communications. Photo by Shane Collins

Jon Yates, currently co-interim vice president for Global Marketing and Communications for Northwestern University, has been appointed its new vice president, effective June 15, reporting to President Michael Schill.

Yates was selected after a national search conducted by a committee representing Northwestern faculty and staff and chaired by Charles F. Whitaker, professor and dean of the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. Heyman Associates was retained to assist the committee.

With 30 years of experience in the fields of media, marketing and communications, he has served the University in various roles in the Office of Global Marketing and Communications (OGMC) since 2017, rising through the ranks to lead the office.

Yates will be responsible for driving the University’s global marketing and communications strategy. This includes advising Northwestern’s president, senior leadership and Board of Trustees on top-level communications and shaping the University’s global marketing approach. OGMC’s team of approximately 50 media relations, digital, publishing, marketing and creative professionals is dedicated to telling the Northwestern story and strengthening awareness of the University’s excellence and impact for local, national and global audiences. 

“I am delighted that Jon Yates will be our next vice president for Global Marketing and Communications,” Schill said. “A strategic thinker with a collaborative spirit, Jon brings a wealth of media and communications experience to the role as well as extensive knowledge and understanding about Northwestern’s strengths, challenges and the great story we have to tell.” 

Yates has served as co-interim vice president for Global Marketing and Communications with Andy Madorsky, assistant vice president of marketing and chief creative officer, since January. Yates will succeed Jeri Ward, who stepped down in December after serving as Northwestern’s vice president and chief marketing and communications officer since 2018. 

“I am thrilled and honored to lead the Office of Global Marketing and Communications, and to work with communicators across this incredible institution to tell the story of Northwestern,” Yates said. “There is no better marketing and communications team in higher education than the team in OGMC and no University in the country that excels in so many areas.”

Yates joined Northwestern in 2017 as director of media relations and since October 2020, has served as assistant vice president of communications, leading the University’s communications team, including media relations and crisis, emergency and internal communications. 

Under Yates’ leadership, Northwestern has made significant gains across all media and social media metrics, including reach, engagement and impact. He has advised University leaders on myriad crises and has developed a reputation for being responsive, calm under pressure and for providing clear, strategic counsel.

“At his inauguration last week, President Schill said Northwestern is a place that ‘feeds off of creative energy,’” Yates said. “My job is to tap into that energy and help elevate the reputation of the University I love, and to showcase the seemingly endless ways our faculty, students and staff work to improve the world.”

Prior to joining Northwestern, Yates served as a marketing manager at PwC. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Iowa, majoring in journalism and history, and spent more than two decades as a newspaper reporter, including 14 as reporter and columnist for the Chicago Tribune. There, he created and wrote “What’s Your Problem?” a popular consumer advocacy column.

Prior to the Chicago Tribune, he reported for several daily news outlets including The Tennessean in Nashville; The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, Calif.; and Iowa City’s Press-Citizen.

Yates lives in Oak Park with his wife, Trine Tsouderos, two teenage children and their Bernese Mountain Dog, Moka.

For Journalists: view the news release for media contacts and assets