James H. McIlhenny has been elected president and chief executive officer of U.S. News & World Report, succeeding John H. Sweet, who will continue as chairman of the board. McIlhenny joined U.S. News in 1980 as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Prior to that he served for 12 years at Macmillan Inc. as an executive vice president and a senior operating officer.

George Hammond, chairman of the board of Carl Byoir & Associates, will retire on May 15 after 50 years with the company. He joined the company in 1922, was elected a vice president in 1941, executive vice president in 1946 and president in 1956. Hammond became chairman in 1965.

Gerald Downey has been appointed director of advertising and promotion for WMZQ Radio.

John C. L. Donaldson has joined Gray and Co. as a vice president. Elizabeth S. Weltner, Barbara Cebuhar, John Lengel and Carole Trimble have joined the firm as accountant executives.

William P. Steponkus has been promoted to senior vice president, and Laura Battey, has been named vice president in the Washington office of the public relations firm of Manning, Selvage & Lee.

Anthony F. Abell has been named administrative assistant to the president of MCI Telecommunications Corp.

Elliott M. Estes, former president and chief operating officer of General Motors Corp., has been elected to the board of directors of Communications Satellite Corp.

Virginia P. Ault has been named media director for Lauer Associates Inc., a McLean-based advertising agency.

Former undersecretary of the Treasury Bette B. Anderson has joined the public relations firm of Gray and Co. as head of its financial counseling services.

Sharon Nelton has been named managing editor or Washington Report, a business advocacy newspaper published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Andrew Bragg has been named controller of the Gannett Satellite Information Network.