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Friday, September 13, 2013

Mayor's communications director leaving to join Cox Enterprises

Sonji Jacobs Dade
Sonji Jacobs Dade, who since 2010 has served as Mayor Kasim Reed's director of communications and hizzoner's chief spokeswoman, is leaving City Hall and joining Dunwoody-based Cox Enterprises, the media conglomerate whose holdings include the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WSB-TV, and much, much more.

According to a Cox press release, the former AJC and Miami Herald reporter will become director of leadership communications starting Oct. 31. In the role, she will handle - surprise! - communications, including "messaging, speech writing and presentations" for Cox Enterprises' Chief Operating Officer John Dyer. Dyer is set to succeed Jimmy Hayes as president and chief executive officer starting in 2014.

"I'm thrilled that Sonji will be joining our organization," Dyer said in a statement. "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."

So sayeth the mayor, in a statement: "I appreciate Sonji Jacobs Dade's service to the City of Atlanta and her many contributions as a member of my Senior team for nearly four years. Her talent, energy and drive will be missed. I wish her the very best in her new role and I am sure she will exceed all expectations in her new role at Cox Enterprises."

Dade tells CL that it's been a "complete honor and privilege to work for Mayor Reed and members of his administration. A tremendous, incredible experience. I've loved every minute of it."

"That said, I feel like we're nearing the end of the mayor's first term and pretty much all the goals and objectives he set out to accomplish in his first term, he did," she says. And she thinks the communications team was able to "get those out in the right way."

The Cox gig "felt like a good fit and opportunity to work with the incoming CEO" and take everything she's learned at City Hall - as communications director, she wrote speeches, scheduled appearances, put out fires, and more - to the private sector.

Asked if she'd ever return to public sector work or politics, Dade said that she's focusing right now on the move to Dunwoody. "I'm very excited to work for Cox and be working with incoming CEO John Dyer."

No word yet on who will take her place. Resumes, however, can be sent to @kasimreed.

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