New York, NY — Steve Cody, founder and CEO of Peppercomm, has been elected as the new Chair of the Institute for Public Relations Board of Trustees on January 1. Cody has served on the board since April 2015.

Cody’s predecessor is Linda Rutherford, SVP and CCO of Southwest Airlines, who now serves as the Immediate Past Chair of the Board.

“Being a member of the board has been one of the best professional and personal experiences of my life,” said Cody. “I’ve not only had the opportunity to learn from the best and brightest in our profession, I’m also able to call many trustees friends as well.”

During his tenure as Chair, Cody’s goal is to build upon the achievements of his predecessors and continue to expand IPR’s global footprint through strategic partnerships. He also hopes to heighten the Institute’s awareness as the premier research and measurement organization in the “greater marketing and public relations universe.”

At Peppercomm, Cody is responsible for the overall direction and management of the agency, new business development, new product development and agency marketing. Steve played a lead role in creating StandSmart(sm), a new societal crises offering that is a direct outcome of his multiple research partnerships with IPR.

Oscar Suris, former EVP of Communications at Wells Fargo and Vice Chair of the IPR Board of Trustees, and Brian Lott, CCO at Mubadala and IPR Treasurer, completed their terms on the IPR Executive Committee. Both will continue serving on the IPR Board of Trustees. Leslie Sutton, VP of Corporate Communications at Discover was elected as Vice Chair of the IPR Board of Trustees, and Doug Pinkham, President of the Public Affairs Council, was elected Treasurer.

About the Institute for Public Relations
The Institute for Public Relations is an independent, nonprofit research foundation dedicated to fostering greater use of research and research-based knowledge in corporate communication and the public relations practice. IPR is dedicated to the science beneath the art of public relations™. IPR provides timely insights and applied intelligence that professionals can put to immediate use. All research, including a weekly research letter, is available for free at

Sarah Jackson
Director of Communications
Institute for Public Relations

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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