Ketchum has announced leadership changes right at the top of the organization. As of July 1, Rob Flaherty, senior partner and president, will also become CEO of Ketchum. And Ray Kotcher, currently the CEO and senior partner, will be named chairman. The move is part of a planned leadership transition, with Flaherty continuing to report to Kotcher once they assume their new roles.
The Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor finds that people around the world are disappointed with leaders across business, politics, and religious organizations.
The research, conducted across 12 countries with more than 3,750 respondents, found that 31 percent of people think leadership will get worse this year. And only 25 percent think politicians and religious leaders provide excellent leadership.
The bright spot in the research was in the area of business leadership, particularly technology business leadership. Nearly half (44 percent) said tech business leaders were effective. Next came media leaders with 39 percent and telecommunications leaders (36 percent).
Ketchum‘s Sean Fitzgerald has been named EVP in China and director of the firm’s Shanghai office. The job also comes with responsibility for the Beijing and Guangzhou operations. Fitzgerald is currently partner and MD of Ketchum West. He will relocate to Shanghai in January.
Dave Chapman, who is a partner and director for Ketchum West now, will take up the vacant MD position, managing the operations in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Ketchum announced that it was taking a majority stake in its China operations in January of this year. Fitzgerald will report to Kenneth Chu, partner and CEO, and Jon Higgins, the firm’s senior partner and CEO of international operations.
Don Bartholomew joined Ketchum as SVP of digital and social media research yesterday. Bartholomew was most recently at Fleishman-Hillard’s Washington D.C. office where he managed integrated digital research like social media monitoring and measurement.
In this new role, he’ll manage the Ketchum Global Research Network (KGRN) operations in Ketchum South and Ketchum Midwest, and work with Ketchum Digital, Zócalo Group, the company’s word-of-mouth agency, and Access Communications, which specializes in high-tech and consumer PR.
Bartholomew is also the blogger behind MetricsMan.
Penn State’s Board of Trustees has hired Ketchum to handle crisis comms, Ad Age reports. The hire was made on November 6, the day after former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested. The firm has already helped with the press conference announcing that coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier were leaving their positions.
According to Ad Age, Ketchum has about 50 crisis experts in the U.S.
For its final act, the PRWeek NEXT conference gathered three firm heads — Edelman’s Richard Edelman, Ketchum’s Rob Flaherty, and Fred Cook of GolinHarris — to talk about what it means to not just have the “seat at the table,”* but to maximize it.
The consensus among the three can be summed up simply: “Be bold.” In fact, Cook used those words specifically. Flaherty used a quote, that we’ll quote in part here: “Try not to be the understudy in your own life… We have all the permission we need to step to center stage.”
To judge from Time Warner Cable’s director of digital communication Jeff Simmermon, the answer to the question above is “often.”
Simmermon was one of the speakers scheduled to take the stage today at Ketchum‘s daylong “Respect the Internet” event, which is being livestreamed here as well. After a few audio glitches during the opener, the discussion “Brands as Creators and Innovators” began, with a chunk of the discussion focused on the uses of consumer feedback.
The other panel speaker, Erik Martin, a GM at Reddit, (someone from BoingBoing was also slated for the panel, but he wasn’t on stage) talked up the importance of listening and reading what people have to say about your company and brand online. In his opinion, a lot of marketers and brands aren’t taking full advantage of what’s online.
“I see a lot of conversations that end just as it’s getting interesting,” he said.
Simmerson, while not dismissing the importance of being “immersed” in what’s online, was much more critical of the value of a lot of UGC.
“I can’t wait for the fetish for user-generated content to begin to fade,” he said.
Timo Sieg is stepping down as CEO of Ketchum Pleon in Europe and MD of the firm in Germany, leaving the firm at the end of the year. Dirk Popp will continue as CEO in Germany. And the company has named David Gallagher as CEO in Europe, effective immediately.
Gallagher will continue in his role as London chairman and has been serving as president in charge of operations in Europe for the past two years. Prior to that, he was head of the Ketchum operations in Europe pre-merger.
Nick Ragone has been appointed director of Ketchum‘s 120-person Washington D.C. office. Ragone will be relocating from New York City and reporting to Lorraine Thelian, North American senior partner. His new job starts July 5.
In New York, Ragone was associate director and head of the office’s corporate, issues and crisis, and media relations teams. In D.C. he’ll be working to build the connection between the corporate and public affairs practices.
In addition to his work at Ketchum, Ragone is a frequent guest on CNN and other news networks. Recently published his fourth book Presidential Leadership: 15 Decisions That Changed the Nation. We spoke with Ragone about how he balances his PR career with his other interests after attending his book party in March. You can read the post here.
The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) has chosen Ketchum as its primary comms agency. Ketchum will be working with Zócalo Group, its WOM and social media agency, and maslansky luntz + partners, a firm that a specialty in messaging and message development. The goal is to improve agriculture’s image and raise consumer confidence in food production processes.
The resulting campaign will launch in July.