May 8, 2024 - Technology

Exclusive: Discord names Stephanie Hess as first chief communications officer

Photo illustration of Stephanie Hess surrounded by deconstructed Discord elements.

Photo illustration: Axios VIsuals/Axios. Photo: Bart Nagel

Gaming and communications platform Discord has tapped Stephanie Hess to serve as its first chief communications officer, the company told Axios first.

Why it matters: Hess' hiring comes as Discord tries to reposition itself as a top gaming platform and improve communication with users, parents, game developers, publishers and policymakers about its corporate mission and values.

Context: As CCO, Hess will report to Discord founder and CEO Jason Citron and will unite internal communications, external communications and policy communications with marketing, the company said.

  • Prior to joining Discord, Hess served as head of global communications and marketing for Asana, helping to take the company public in 2020.
  • She also held communication roles at Zynga, Sun Microsystems and Oracle.

Between the lines: Bringing comms and marketing together is critical as Discord tries to reposition itself and "get back to [its] gaming roots," says Hess.

  • Her team will also be responsible for protecting corporate reputation amid heightened scrutiny around children's online safety and content moderation.

What she's saying: "I have these two daughters that represent Gen Z and Gen alpha, so I was looking for an opportunity to be part of something that would impact their generation and Discord has that in spades because of its audience and its place as the backbone for gaming," Hess told Axios.

  • Plus, "there's a lot that folks don't understand about Discord," says Hess. "And so it's up to us to tell those bigger, broader stories."

What to watch: Discord recently starting rolling out advertisements across the platform, which is expected to generate more revenue amid whispers of a future IPO.

What's next: Hess is building up the communications and marketing function and is currently hiring for a global policy comms lead and an internal comms manager.

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