Mary Osako, who has led communications for Fortune 500 companies in the media, technology and entertainment industries, has been named UCLA’s vice chancellor for strategic communications.
She will be the first person to hold the newly created post, which oversees UCLA’s marketing, media relations, executive communications, public outreach and special events and protocol units. The UCLA alumna begins her new job on Sept. 23.
In a message to campus leadership, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said Osako’s broad skill set and track record will be critical assets to the campus’s communications efforts.
“Mary is a visionary leader who has assembled and led successful teams at some of the world’s most innovative and successful companies,” he said. “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.”
Osako is currently a partner and chief operating officer at Haven Tower Group, a Santa Monica, California-based strategic communications and marketing firm that serves corporate clients across the country. She previously was chief communications officer of Activision Blizzard (2014–17); head of global corporate communications at Amazon (2009–14); and vice president of corporate, international and public policy communications at Yahoo (2000-07). Her experience spans all facets of communications, reputation management and brand marketing, including media relations, crisis communications, public affairs, executive communications, events, and social and digital marketing.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UCLA in 1996.
“UCLA was a transformative force in my life,” Osako said. “Beyond the classrooms and the campus, UCLA changes the trajectory of lives every day for the betterment of our global society. To me, this is a singular opportunity to help shape the world’s future by joining the leadership and integrated communications and marketing team at one of the greatest public universities on the planet. I’m incredibly honored to serve in this inaugural role as I go from public companies to the public university space, and I’m thrilled to be back home again amongst my fellow Bruins.”
Osako was chosen following a nationwide search for the leader of UCLA’s new strategic communications division. (The offices that form strategic communications were previously under the umbrella of UCLA’s external affairs division.) Block announced the creation of UCLA Strategic Communications in 2018, positioning the campus to respond more nimbly and effectively to the demands of 24-hour news cycles, social media and the Los Angeles media marketplace.