Harlan Teller has taken a leave of absence from his top strategic communications slot at FTI Consulting to lead marketing and communications for Northern Illinois University for the next two years.

harlan tellerThe 63-year-old Teller, a former corporate practice chair at Hill+Knowlton Strategies and Burson-Marsteller, launched FTI's Midwest PR operations when it was Financial Dynamics in 2005 and has been a senior managing director for the firm based in Chicago.

He takes the title of interim VP at NIU, overseeing its division of marketing and communications, including the seven-college institution's branding and reputation management.

Teller reports to NIU president Douglas Baker, who took the reins in 2013 and in March removed VP of university relations Kathy Buettner. Brad Hoey, director of university marketing, had led the division on an interim basis and will report to Teller.

Teller, a 1973 graduate of NIU, said the school played a "formative role" in his personal development, adding he's "especially proud to come back to the university to help tell the NIU story in a compelling way to a new generation of students."