SAM Magazine—Broomfield, Colo., Nov. 4, 2022—Vail Resorts has hired Kenny Thompson Jr. to serve as the company’s first chief public affairs officer, effective Dec. 5, 2022. In the newly created role, Thompson will oversee government relations, community relations, communications, sustainability, and the company’s social responsibility platform, EpicPromise. He will be part of the Vail Resorts executive team and report to CEO Kirsten Lynch.
The new role is part of “a proactive and integrated approach” to fostering strong community partnerships and championing “bold goals” for sustainable tourism, environmental stewardship, inclusivity, and affordable housing, among other things, according to Lynch.
“More now than ever,” said Thompson, “corporations are having a meaningful impact on their communities and society in general. I am inspired by the important work Vail Resorts is doing through its bold programs like EpicPromise, Commitment to Zero and the Epic for Everyone youth access initiative. I look forward to partnering with communities to amplify programs like these as well as identify and drive forward other shared goals.”
Thompson brings two decades of public affairs experience to Vail Resorts, including four years with the Obama White House, where he served as director of message events for Vice President Joe Biden, senior advisor to United States trade representative Ron Kirk, and special assistant and advance lead for President Barack Obama.
For the past nine years, Thompson has worked in external affairs for PepsiCo, most recently as vice president of external affairs focused on stakeholder engagement. Through the pandemic, he led a $7 million community partnership program that spanned 15 U.S. cities to support health-related needs and economic revival programs.
In 2020, Thompson was selected to serve on the Biden-Harris transition team as private sector liaison. Currently, Thompson serves on the board of trustees at Texas Christian University and the board of advisors at the Georgetown Institute of Politics. In 2021, he was appointed by President Biden to serve as a commissioner on the President's Commission of White House Fellowships. In 2022, he was awarded the Washington Business Journal's Diversity in Business award.
“Kenny shares our company’s values, including ‘Do Good, Do Right and Be Inclusive,’ and has a proven track record of fostering strong public-private partnerships to advance important work,” said Lynch. “I am excited to welcome him to the team and value his expertise and passion for social impact, corporate responsibility, sustainability and advocacy.”