Steve Harris, 2012 Legacy Mentor
Following a career of more than 40 years in automotive communications, Steve Harris is now a partner with McGinn and Company of Arlington, Va., a firm specializing in reputation and crisis communications. Previously, Harris was head of global communications at General Motors where he led a team to provide communications services to GM’s employees, operations and brands around the globe.
Harris first joined GM in 1967 as a lecturer with GM’s Previews of Progress educational program after graduating from the University of Southern California with a BA in journalism. In 1979, he joined American Motors as head of product public relations. Eight years later, he moved to Chrysler as the director of corporate public relations. He was named Vice President of Communications in 1998, and then Senior Vice President of Communications for DaimlerChrysler following the Chrysler-Daimler-Benz merger.
In 1999, Harris returned to GM as Vice President of Global Communications. In 2003, he retired and opened a communications consulting practice but was asked to return to GM in 2006, where he held his previous position until 2009.
Harris has served on the boards of the Arthur W. Page Society, Institute for Public Relations, Foundation for American Communications and USC’s Annenberg Center for Strategic Public Relations, where he also taught graduate-level communications in 2010.
Harris is a recipient of the IPR Alexander Hamilton Medal for lifetime contributions to professional public relations, the SABRE Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Public Relations, the USC Outstanding Journalism Alumni award and an eight-time Automotive News’ All Star for automotive public relations. The Arthur W. Page Society inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 2007, and The Detroit Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2002.