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Mike Fernandez

Global Chair of Corporate and Financial Practice, Burson-Marsteller

Most recently, Fernandez was the most senior corporate affairs official for Cargill and oversaw global government relations, internal and external communications, corporate responsibility, knowledge management, and corporate brand management. Mike Fernandez formerly served as State Farm’s chief communications officer, leading the company’s efforts associated with corporate reputation and strategic communications.

Prior to joining State Farm in 2006, Fernandez led the public relations function at three other Fortune 500 companies. He served as senior vice president and chief communications officer for ConAgra Foods, where he also led the company’s marketing services and sponsorship units. Before that, he served as senior vice president of public affairs at CIGNA, where he had responsibility for government affairs and investor relations; and before that he served as vice president of public relations at US WEST, where he helped lead the company’s efforts with the 2000 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

Before leading the public relations function at these companies, Fernandez worked in public relations and marketing at Eastman Kodak Company and, on Capitol Hill, was a public policy analyst with the U.S. House of Representatives’ House Democratic Study Group and a press secretary to former U.S. Senator Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings of South Carolina.

Fernandez and his teams have earned top honors from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and the American Marketing Association among others. In 1999, he was named “PR All Star” for strategic communications by Inside PR. In 2010, he was selected by Hispanic Business magazine as one of the most influential Hispanics in corporate America.

Throughout his career, Fernandez has served on various state and national boards associated with education, economic development and the Latino community. He currently is co-chair of the Institute for Public Relations and a board member of the Arthur W. Page Society. He also serves on the boards of the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. While living in Rochester, New York, he was elected to its school board and its city council.


M.S. in accounting, Georgetown University
B.A. with honors in government, Georgetown University