January 7, 2016
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced several changes to the lineup of his communications team, including the promotion of four senior communication and press aides, and the addition of two new staff members.
“Our communications team is full of talented professionals who work to advance the Mayor’s agenda to ensure that New Yorkers know about the work the City is doing to improve their lives,” said Andrea Hagelgans, Director of Communications. “These six individuals are well-qualified and have the skills needed to keep New Yorkers well informed. I look forward to continue working with them.”
Wiley Norvell, formerly Deputy Press Secretary, has taken on a new role as Communications Advisor for Housing and Economic Development, communicating the City’s efforts in building affordable housing for a new generation, and helping New Yorkers secure good-paying jobs. Norvell has coordinated press outreach on some of the Mayor’s signature issues, including the Housing New York plan, Vision Zero and Pre-K for All. Norvell joined then-Public Advocate Bill de Blasio as Press Secretary shortly after he took office in 2010.
Dan Gross has been appointed as Deputy Director of Communications for Planning and Execution for the Office of the Mayor. He previously served as a Communications Advisor for Events & Planning at City Hall and Director of Strategic Planning for Citywide Events. In his new position he will play a greater role in the implementation of strategic communications in City Hall and across City Agencies. Gross is an ideal appointee for this positon having held key roles in both the public and private sector over the past fifteen years, including President Obama’s Administration and the last three presidential campaigns among many others.
Former Chief Photographer Rob Bennett will take on the position of Director of Creative Communications, where he will lead the production and distribution of all digital communications. Photojournalist Michael Appleton will take over as Chief Photographer. Appleton is a World Press Photo winner and has been named Photographer of The Year by the New York Press Photographer’s Association.
Maibe Ponet, former Communications Advisor for Health and Human Services, has been appointed Senior Communications Advisor to Commissioner Mary T. Bassett at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. There, Ponet will utilize experience communicating health-related news to promote the public health of New Yorkers.
Finally, Mayor de Blasio’s Press Office has a new addition, Raul A. Contreras, who will support the team as Assistant Press Secretary.