Jan 4, 2024 - Business

Scoop: Leigh Farris joins BlackRock as global head of communications

Photo illustration of Leigh Farris with abstract shapes and BlackRock's logo.

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Carlyle Group

Leigh Farris will join BlackRock as global head of corporate communications, Axios first learned.

Why it matters: Farris will manage the reputation and communication efforts for the world's largest and most scrutinized asset management firm.

Details: She will replace Jim Badenhausen who is retiring in March after more than 12 years at BlackRock.

  • She will serve on the operating committee and will report to BlackRock's global head of corporate affairs, John Kelly, who joined the firm in August 2023.
  • Farris will oversee a team of 80 spread across the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America, managing corporate and reputational issues, media relations, executive communications, employee and internal communications, and financial communications.

Flashback: Farris comes to BlackRock from the Carlyle Group, where she served as partner and global head of corporate communications.

  • She also held previous communication roles at Goldman Sachs, GE and CBS News.

Be smart: BlackRock CEO Larry Fink's previous statements on enviornmental, social and governance (ESG) investments have served as a political lightening rod for conservative politicians, who have blasted the firm for "woke capitalism."

  • Farris' success will be pinned to her and her communications team's ability to walk the delicate line of touting BlackRock's range of products — which include ESG funds and Crypto — and fending off right wing criticism of the company's direction.

What she's saying: "BlackRock is a world-class institution and has been an innovator for decades," Farris told Axios. "I am honored to join the talented team and continue to build the work led by Jim Badenhausen and many others."

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