DES MOINES, Iowa – Kevin Waetke was appointed vice president of strategic communications for the National Pork Board.

Waetke will lead internal and external communications initiatives. He and other members of NPB's senior-management team will work to define a communications strategy to deliver clear and consistent messages to pork producers, thought leaders, consumers and other key audiences.

"The national pork industry is at a crossroads, and how we communicate to our audiences, share information and manage our reputation has never been more critical," said Chris Novak, CEO of the National Pork Board. "We took the time to carefully understand our communications challenges and opportunities and, after conducting a nationwide search, found the ideal candidate to lead communications in our backyard.

"Kevin's commitment and progressive leadership in communications roles at some of central Iowa's premier companies make him the ideal person to assist us in setting our communications strategy and outreach," Novak added. "I am excited to welcome him to our team and look forward to working closely with him in our ongoing transformation."

Waetke is a 10-year veteran of communications in the financial services industry. He spent three years at Aviva USA, a leading life insurance and annuity provider. Before joining Aviva, he was the communications director for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Waetke also has led public relations for Maytag Corp., MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, and Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines. He is also a former news reporter and assignment editor for WHO-TV.

"This move is a return to my roots, and I am excited about the potential to share the story of the essential role pork production plays in the nation's economy," Waetke said. "Having grown up on a century hog farm in Scott County, Iowa, I am well aware of the challenges facing the pork industry. I look forward to playing a role in shaping the dialogue and building relationships with the industry's key players."