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Universal Communications Shake-Up: Teri Everett Exits, Cindy Gardner Steps In

Deadline logo Deadline 2/1/2017 Anita Busch
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Universal shook up it senior communications team today, announcing that Teri Everett has exited as EVP Global Communications at Universal Filmed Entertainment after only 18 months and Cindy Gardner has been promoted to thjob. Gardner, a veteran of more than 20 years at the company, also adds the title of EVP Corporate Affairs for Universal Studios. She had been SVP since 2005 and has, in recent months, been handling more corporate communications and working closely with NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer. Everett is leaving the company this month, and Gardner will expand her role thereafter.

Everett, who moved from the East Coast with her husband to take the job back in August of 2015, and the Universal job wasn’t entirely a good fit. She previously held posts at Time Inc., in New York and also at Fox Entertainment Group in Los Angeles and then later oversaw global communications for parent company, News Corporation. She also headed communications for ABC News and spent several years at Ogilvy & Mather Public Relations in Washington, D.C., where she advised clients in the telecommunications and energy fields.

Gardner, on the other hand, came up through the ranks inside Universal, having joined the company in 1995 initially in publicity and worked her way up. She was upped to VP in 2001 and then Senior VP, Corporate Affairs, Universal Studios where she reported to Meyer and did everything from special events and media relations to philanthropy. She is a consummate professional who has been there through the ownership changes. If there was to be anyone to replace Everett, it is not a surprise to insiders that it was Gardner.

“Ron, Donna and I look forward to working with Cindy in this new role,” said Jeff Shell, Chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment, in announcing the moves. “She has proven time and again that she has excellent judgment, deep industry knowledge, and the right experience to guide us through the changing business landscape. She is a trusted adviser to me and continues to be an integral part of our senior team.”

Everett was promoted to EVP Global Communications in July 2015 and took over the following month. She replaced Kori Bernards.

“Teri is one of the most well-respected strategic communications executives in the business,” said Shell. “Since 2015, Teri’s leadership and steady hand guided us through some major developments for the Filmed Entertainment Group, including the DreamWorks Animation acquisition.  She also built up our Global Communications operation, with an expanded focus on some of our growing divisions and corporate initiatives.”

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