Chobani nabs a CNN journalist to help promote its pro-immigrant mission

  • Company is hiring CNN business journalist Cristina Alesci as its first chief corporate affairs officer.
  • Chobani uses positive PR and its small advertising budget to promote its growing products beyond yogurt along with its pro-immigrant mission.
  • Alesci will overseee a team of 25 handling PR, communications, and government relations, among other areas.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Chobani, known for its Greek yogurt and pro-immigrant politics, is drafting CNN business journalist Cristina Alesci for a newly created executive communications position.

Alesci, the daughter of Italian immigrants, featured Chobani chief executive Hamdi Ulukaya in a segment on CNN five years ago exploring his attempts to help immigrants in America. The segment received such positive feedback from viewers that the two stayed in touch. 

Alesci is joining in the newly created role of chief corporate affairs officer on the executive leadership team. She will oversee a staff of 25 people in public relations, community engagement, public affairs, executive and internal communications and government relations. She's set to start Dec. 28.

The government relations aspect of the role will involve Alesci helping the New York-based company push for more immigrant friendly policies and advocate for a $15 minimum wage. The company does its creative in-house and has a small advertising budget compared to other consumer packaged goods brands, but uses positive PR, among other things, to sell its products. Ulukaya appeared on Bloomberg TV in late December to discuss the importance of paying a living wage to employees. 

Alesci said she had spent the past year reporting on companies that were starting to take a stand on subjects as diverse as mask-wearing, election integrity and upholding democracy. She sits on the board of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.

"The main challenge is getting all the incredible work they've been doing out there," Alesci told Business Insider. "People think of it as a yogurt company. It's so much more than that."

She noted that Chobani has launched and grown in three categories: plant-based oat milks, dairy & plant-based oat creamers, functional wellness beverages, and probiotic yogurt. She's also looking forward to supporting Ulukaya's work to bring other business leaders together to address the resettlement system.

"I really felt like I could make an impact at Chobani, helping the company tell its stories and achieve its social impact objectives," she said.

 

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