Appointment of Mary Osako as Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications

Faculty and Staff

Chancellor Block sent the following message to UCLA Deans, Directors, Department Chairs, Administrative Officers, Faculty, and Staff in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mary Osako as UCLA’s first Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications, effective September 23.

Mary is a visionary leader who has assembled and led successful teams at some of the most innovative and successful companies in the world. Her impressive background and experience will help us effectively tell UCLA’s story in new and compelling ways that convey the depth and breadth of all the work we do here.

A Los Angeles native and UCLA alumna, Mary has spent her career leading strategic communications for Fortune 500 companies in the media, technology and entertainment sectors. She is well-versed in all facets of communications, reputation management and brand marketing, encompassing media relations, crisis communications, public affairs, executive communications, events and social and digital marketing. Previously, Mary served as chief communications officer of Activision Blizzard; head of global corporate communications at Amazon; and vice president of corporate, international and public policy communications at Yahoo!. She is currently a partner and chief operating officer at Haven Tower Group, a leading strategic communications and marketing firm based in Santa Monica that serves corporate clients across the country.

In July 2018, I announced that University Communications and Public Outreach, which had resided in External Affairs, would become a separate division called the Office of Strategic Communications.

Communications is an increasingly dynamic and important field and, as a university located in one of the world’s largest and busiest media markets, UCLA must be able to effectively respond to the demands of 24-hour news cycles and social media. With rapid technological advances that have affected the way we receive and consume information, I believe this realignment, coupled with Mary’s expertise and vision, will help us meet the challenges of an environment that requires us to be increasingly nimble and responsive.

The units that currently compose Strategic Communications are marketing, media relations, executive communications, public outreach and special events and protocol. Visit the Strategic Communications website to learn more.

I want to thank the search/advisory committee members for assembling an outstanding pool of candidates and for their role in recruiting Mary. The committee was chaired by Darnell Hunt, dean of social sciences and professor in the Department of African American Studies and Department of Sociology. Other members were: Michael Beck – administrative vice chancellor; Jonathan Hiatt – vice dean for faculty, David Geffen School of Medicine; Kerri Johnson – chair, Department of Communication; Jerry Kang – vice chancellor, equity, diversity and inclusion; Ann Karagozian – distinguished professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Margaret Leal-Sotelo – assistant provost; Julie Sina – associate vice chancellor, alumni affairs, and CFO, UCLA Foundation; Russ Stanton – senior executive, G.F. Bunting + Co.; and Brett Steele – dean, School of the Arts and Architecture.

With Mary’s more than 20 years of experience and her proven track record of effectively leading complex communications efforts of all types, I am confident that she will be an extraordinary addition to our campus leadership team. Please join me in congratulating Mary and welcoming her back to UCLA.

  • Gene D. BlockChancellor