Cox Enterprises this week named Sonji Jacobs Dade as director of leadership communications, effective Oct. 31.

Jacobs Dade will serve as senior communications counsel for Cox Enterprises’ Chief Operating Officer John Dyer, who will succeed Jimmy Hayes as president and chief executive officer upon Hayes’ retirement in 2014. She will develop and direct communications for Dyer, including messaging, speech writing and presentations. She will also serve as a key partner with senior leadership across Cox’s companies and industry-related associations.

“I’m thrilled that Sonji will be joining our organization,” said Dyer. “She is known for providing strategic counsel to senior leaders and communicating to a broad spectrum of constituents. And, as a former Cox employee with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she understands our company culture and strong values. Sonji is the perfect fit for this role.”

As a member of the Cox Enterprises communications department, she will align leadership messages with the group’s overall business plan and report to Bob Jimenez, vice president of corporate communications and public affairs.

Jacobs Dade currently serves as director of communications for the Office of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. In this role, she serves as key political advisor and chief spokesperson for Reed. While supervising a team of more than 30 employees citywide, she has partnered with city, state, federal and White House officials on key events and announcements. She also coordinated the Mayor’s national television appearances, panel discussions and keynote addresses.

Commenting on her departure from the city, Reed said,

”During her time with us, Sonji has restructured the Office of Communications to be more responsive, effective and innovative.

“Her creativity and passion for public service has helped redefine Atlanta as a leading, international city. Sonji leaves us with a tremendous record of achievement. She has been an invaluable member of my team and will be missed. I wish her the very best in her new role and I am sure she will exceed expectations at Cox Enterprises.”

Jacobs Dade has extensive experience creating long-term communication strategies and crisis communications plans. She previously served as vice president of crisis, issues management and public affairs for Edelman, as well as a reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Miami Herald.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve this great city under the leadership of Mayor Kasim Reed and the members of his Administration during his first term,” said Dade. “Mayor Reed’s commitment and passion for Atlanta and its people are unparalleled, and he inspired me every single day. I look forward to growing even more in my new role at Cox Enterprises.”

Jacobs Dade was named to the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 40 Under 40 list, and her work has received multiple awards from the International Association of Business Communicators and the Public Relations Society of America. She is on the board of directors for Planned Parenthood Southeast and the Technology Association of Georgia’s Awareness Task Force.

She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, Atlanta Association of Black Journalists and the Black Public Relations Society of Atlanta.

She received a master’s of science degree in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor’s of arts degree in history and literature from Harvard University.

Cox Enterprises is a leading communications, media and automotive services company. With revenues of more than $15 billion and more than 50,000 employees, the company’s major operating subsidiaries include Cox Communications, Inc. (cable television distribution, telephone, high-speed Internet access, commercial telecommunications and advertising solutions); Manheim, Inc. (vehicle auctions, repair and certification services and web-based technology products); (online automotive advertising and Kelley Blue Book, vAuto, HomeNet Automotive and Vin Solutions subsidiaries); and Cox Media Group, Inc. (television and radio stations, digital media, newspapers, advertising sales rep firms, Valpak and Cox Digital Solutions). Additionally, Cox operates

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