Gary Gerdemann is a founding partner of RunSwitch and has more than 30 years experience leading communications and communications teams in large organizations and startups. Mr. Gerdemann is an award-winning strategist, spokesman, entrepreneur, writer and public speaker. A former newspaper reporter, Gerdemann is a media and crisis expert having conducted thousands of interviews with print, broadcast and online reporters. Mr. Gerdemann’s work has supported the launch and growth of several major national brands including Boston Market, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Lipton ready to drink teas, Gamefly and eToys. Gerdemann’s experience includes investor and financial relations including debt and equity offerings, annual reports and quarterly releases; employee and internal communications; food contamination issues and recalls; environmental issues; activist and stakeholder engagement; and corporate social responsibility. Mr. Gerdemann is active on several professional and community boards and is a community volunteer involved in several youth organizations.
Prior to RunSwitch, Mr. Gerdemann was Senior Vice President of Peritus leading the firm’s public relations teams in Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio and Alabama. Under his leadership, the agency grew from a single office in Kentucky to six offices in five states while revenue quadrupled. His teams won more than four dozen industry awards and attracted a range of national and international clients.
Prior to Peritus, Mr. Gerdemann was Senior Director of Corporate Communications for Gap, Inc., the largest specialty retail apparel company. Based in San Francisco, Gerdemann led a seven person business and financial communications team responsible for all external corporate communications including the company’s first ever corporate social responsibility report. Before Gap, Mr. Gerdemann was Vice President of Corporate Communications for Los Angeles-based Homestore.com, Inc. and prior to that he led business and investor communications for eToys.com, Inc.
Before moving to California, Mr. Gerdemann was Director of Strategic Communication Development for Atlanta-based Southern Company, one of the nation’s largest energy companies. Mr. Gerdemann led development of a company-wide communication strategy that included financial, investor, media and internal communications as well as governmental relations. Prior to Atlanta, Mr. Gerdemann joined Denver-based Boston Chicken, Inc., and (later renamed Boston Market) to create and develop the company’s internal and external communications functions. He was later tapped to join the 24-member startup team that created the Einstein Bros. Bagel brand. While there, Mr. Gerdemann led all aspects of corporate communications for Einstein/Noah Bagel Corp., a $350 million subsidiary of Boston Chicken. He designed and executed a communications strategy to support the company’s Initial Public Offering, subsequent add-on offering and senior subordinated debenture raising more than $291 million to fund growth. He hired and directed regional PR agencies to support the opening of more than 200 retail stores in more than a dozen markets.
Before Boston Market and Einstein Bros, Mr. Gerdemann was Director of Worldwide Public Affairs for KFC Corp. in Louisville and led all internal and external communications for 9,000 KFC restaurants worldwide. Before KFC, Mr. Gerdemann was Manager of Public Relations for Pepsi-Cola in New York where he led consumer public relations efforts for Mountain Dew, Mug Root Beer and the Pepsi/Lipton joint venture. He also supported many consumer initiatives including the launch of Crystal Pepsi, SuperBowl XXV and the NCAA Collegiate Basketball Championship. He was a primary media spokesman handling more than 1,200 media calls per year.
Mr. Gerdemann is a graduate of Southern Methodist University, a former licensed Emergency Medical Technician by the state of New York and the owner of a federally-registered trademark (Registration #3133611).
Mr. Gerdemann serves on the Board of Directors of the American Advertising Federation, Louisville and serves on the Board of Directors for the Public Relations Society of America, Bluegrass Chapter.
Founding Partner, RunSwitch PR (Present)
Vice President, Peritus Public Relations
Senior Director of Corporate Communications, Gap, Inc.
Director of Strategic Communication Development, Southern Company