Following an extensive national search, Sean Burnett has been named Senior Vice President of Integrated Marketing Communications and Chief Marketing Officer at Pepperdine University. Burnett will assume his new role in April 2022.
“I look forward to Sean’s stewardship of Pepperdine’s brand and history and am energized by the knowledge and experience he brings from his years of leadership in strategic communications, organizational development and promoting invaluable opportunities in health and higher education,” says Pepperdine President Jim Gash (JD ’93).
Burnett brings extensive experience in brand positioning and marketing as well as a deep Christian faith and deep appreciation of Pepperdine’s mission and place in higher education. As head of Pepperdine’s award-winning marketing and communications team, Burnett will work alongside a dynamic group to share the Pepperdine brand story with an ever-growing audience through signature events, publications and emerging technologies to position Pepperdine as a leading global Christian university. . Burnett will work directly with the leadership team and University leaders to shape his vision and advance Pepperdine’s mission, illuminating it for diverse audiences and providing message leadership through integrated marketing strategies.
“Nancy and I are honored to join the Pepperdine University family and feel blessed beyond measure as we enter an exciting new chapter,” said Burnett. “The opportunities at Pepperdine seem limitless. President Gash has assembled an incredibly impressive team of mission-driven professionals who are committed to making this institution’s ambitious vision a reality. I couldn’t be more proud to accept the invitation to join this talented and passionate group.
Burnett joins Pepperdine from Houston, Texas, where since 2017 he served as vice president of marketing and general affairs for the Gulf Coast division of HCA Healthcare, one of the nation’s leading healthcare service providers. In this role, Burnett successfully led the launch of the company’s rebranding initiative, managed crisis communications through Hurricane Harvey and other incidents, and significantly increased awareness of HCA Houston. In the region.
Burnett has also held key positions in advertising, branding and marketing in the healthcare and hospitality industries throughout his career, including vice president of sales, marketing and training. at Covia Health, an innovative Houston-based health services company focused on detecting and preventing advanced breast cancer. With over 20 years of experience in brand management and strategic planning, Burnett has launched comprehensive marketing programs, designed communications initiatives and impacted global brands such as OSI Restaurant Partners, Inc. (Outback Steakhouse), Yum! Brands (KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut), IKEA, Igloo Products Corp. and SYSCO Foods, among others.
At Rice University, Burnett served as director of the Jones Graduate School of Management, where he earned an MBA in 2006. As director of MBA programs at the business school, Burnett oversaw administrative and programmatic strategy of Rice’s 500 students, internationally. recognized MBA program, including academic policy execution and enforcement, student affairs, and overall program development. Burnett collaborated on a successful college-wide purchasing improvement initiative and launched a rebranding initiative that raised Rice’s national ranking by 49and at 22n/a in two years. Additionally, the Jones School’s entrepreneurship and finance programs ranked among the top 10 internationally for the first time in the school’s 35-year history.
Burnett attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he received a bachelor’s degree in advertising. Beyond his professional duties, Burnett serves as chairman of the board of directors of Cornerstone Christian Academy, a K-8 school in Sugar Land, Texas, started by the First Colony Church of Christ, of which he and his wife Nancy are members.