Josh King, a politically savvy top communications and marketing exec for insurance giant Willis Group Holdings, has moved to troubled Fortune 500 payment processor First Data Corp. in Atlanta to lead global communications and corporate affairs.
He follows and reports to his former boss, Willis Group CEO Joe Plumeri, who was named vice chairman at First Data in May.
Chip Swearngan, who was senior VP of global comms. and IR, left First Data in February.
First Data was acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts for $29B in 2007 but is saddled with debt of about $23B, despite annual revenue north of $10B. Thousands of staffers have been laid off since the financial crisis and five CEOs have led the company since then, according to the Wall Street Journal.
King will oversee employee and client communications, media relations, digital/social media, public engagement and events as senior VP of global comms. and PA. Plumeri, who guided KKR-owned Willis to a public offering in 2001, said in a statement that King will "help spread the message of First Data's exciting transformation to our many constituents."
King directed production for presidential events for the Clinton White house office of communications before moving into the private sector with Monsanto, Speakout.com and Penn, Schoen & Berland. He was VP of media/community relations for The Hartford Financial Services Group and, in 2009, moved to Willis. He has written for Politico, the Washington Post and Variety, among others and produces a blog and Sirius XM show on its "POTUS" channel.