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Michelle Obama communication chief, Camille Johnston, quitting for private sector job UPDATED

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WASHINGTON--First Lady Michelle Obama's top spokesman, Camille Johnston, will be departing for a private sector job, the White House announced Friday.

Johnston will be joining Siemens as Vice President, Corporate Affairs. "In this position, she will be a member of the U.S. leadership team and will be responsible for developing, leading and implementing a comprehensive and integrated media plan for Siemens Corporation," the company said in a statement.

Johnston will continue in the East Wing through Aug. 27 and start her new position in September. No replacement has been named.

Johnston presided over Mrs. Obama's communication operation since the beginning of the Obama administration and was an architect of the messaging strategy supporting Mrs. Obama's anti-childhood obesity drive dubbed "Let's Move!" During Johnston's tenure, Mrs. Obama's favorability ratings increased, according to all public polling, to the point where Mrs. Obama is the most popular person in the Obama orbit.

Johnston is the third high level East Wing staffer to leave Mrs. Obama's operation. Mrs. Obama's first chief of staff, Jackie Norris left in June, 2009; her first Social Secretary, Desiree Rogers, departed earlier this year.


"Camille has become a trusted advisor to me and to the entire East Wing," said First Lady Michelle Obama in a statement.

"From our first day in the White House when we opened the doors and greeted visitors, she has led a communications team that has developed creative and effective strategies for the Let's Move! campaign, our work on behalf of military families, arts and cultural events in the White House and our international agenda. Her dedication, calming presence and expertise have been invaluable. She will be missed, but we wish her all the best," Mrs. Obama said.

Johnston said in a statement, "Being invited by Mrs. Obama to be a part of her East Wing team was a privilege for which I am incredibly grateful. It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve the First Lady and the President and to be a part of this historic Administration."

Click below for White House, Siemens statements

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Below, from the White House, followed by release from Siemens Corp. ...

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the First Lady


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 30, 2010



The White House today announced that Camille Johnston, Director of Communications for the First Lady, will be leaving the White House for a position in the private sector.

Statement from Mrs. Obama:

"Camille has become a trusted advisor to me and to the entire East Wing," said First Lady Michelle Obama. "From our first day in the White House when we opened the doors and greeted visitors, she has led a communications team that has developed creative and effective strategies for the Let's Move! campaign, our work on behalf of military families, arts and cultural events in the White House and our international agenda. Her dedication, calming presence and expertise have been invaluable. She will be missed, but we wish her all the best."

Statement from Camille Johnston:

"Being invited by Mrs. Obama to be a part of her East Wing team was a privilege for which I am incredibly grateful. It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve the First Lady and the President and to be a part of this historic Administration."

###


Camille Johnston joins Siemens in the U.S. as Vice President, Corporate Affairs

Siemens Corporation today announced that Camille Johnston will join the company as Vice President, Corporate Affairs, effective September 7. In this position, she will be a member of the U.S. leadership team and will be responsible for developing, leading and implementing a comprehensive and integrated media plan for Siemens Corporation. Johnston currently works at The White House and serves as Special Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the First Lady.

According to Eric Spiegel, president and CEO for Siemens Corporation, "Our Company's portfolio is well-aligned with America's priorities right now, and we believe our technologies can move the national agenda forward. This is a major reason why we are moving our U.S. headquarters to DC - and why we are thrilled to have Camille's extensive communications and public affairs expertise to help us position Siemens more broadly in this country."

Prior to the White House, Johnston worked as a communications consultant for the Entertainment Industry Foundation on the Stand Up To Cancer campaign, the nationally televised fundraising special that aired simultaneously on ABC, CBS and NBC and raised more than $100 million for cancer research. From 2005 - 2008, Johnston was the Senior Vice President of Communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers overseeing corporate communications, media relations, internal communications, publications, and broadcasting .

A veteran of the 1992 and 1996 Clinton-Gore campaigns, Johnston also served as Communications Director for Mrs. Tipper Gore from 1999 - 2001, Press Secretary for Labor Secretary Robert Reich and Education Secretary Richard Riley and Communications Director for OSHA. After leaving the White House, Johnston joined Rodale Inc. the largest independent publisher in the U.S. as Vice President of Corporate Communications. From 1997 - 1999, Johnston was the Director of Communications for WBBM-TV in Chicago, Illinois. Johnston holds a B.A. in political science from UCLA.
Johnston will be based in Washington, DC and report to Eric Spiegel, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens in the U .S.
# # #
Siemens Corporation is a U.S. subsidiary of Siemens AG (NYSE: SI), a global powerhouse in electronics and electrical engineering, operating in the industry, energy and healthcare sectors. For more than 160 years, Siemens has built a reputation for leading-edge innovation and the quality of its products, services and solutions. With 405,000 employees in 190 countries, Siemens reported worldwide revenue of $104.3 billion in fiscal 2009. Siemens in the USA reported revenue of $21.3 billion and employs approximately 64,000 people throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico. For more information on Siemens in the United States, visit www.usa.siemens.com

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on July 30, 2010 1:04 PM.

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