AgencySpy LostRemote TVNewser TVSpy FishbowlNY FishbowlDC GalleyCat SocialTimes

PR’s Revolving Door

MSNBC Names Former White House Staffer as VP of Communications

Rachel MSNBCToday MSNBC announced the hiring of Rachel Racusen as its new VP of communications.

Racusen, who will handle comms and media strategy while partnering with editorial and business leads at the network, will also serve as MSNBC’s primary spokesperson moving forward.

Earlier this month, a source told us that the network was looking for a candidate with connections to the current administration, and Racusen certainly fits that bill: prior to this appointment, she served as associate communications director at The White House.

Boston native Racusen has an extensive history in public relations, beginning her career with Washington, D.C.’s Dittus Communications and serving as VP at area firm SKDKnickerbocker. She has also held multiple roles within the federal government: after leaving Dittus, she spent four years as communications director for the House Education and Workforce Committee before moving to FEMA, where she led the agency’s responses to Hurricane Irene and other deadly storms as its director of public affairs.

Read more

Roll Call: Burson-Marsteller, Lippincott, Fingerpaint, and More

Burson-Marsteller announced the promotion of Nicole Cornish to the position of chief operating officer for the North American region. Prior to today’s announcement, Cornish simultaneously served as CEO of the agency’s “grassroots operation” Direct Impact and SVP of its North American operations. The release tells us that her primary focus as COO will be talent retention and recruitment; she will report directly to US CEO Michael Law, and EVP Connie Partoyan will assume the role of President at Direct Impact, which is currently looking for a new CEO.

Cornish, who operates out of Washington, D.C., has spent well over a decade with the B-M organization, first as a manager of brand marketing. She joined Direct Impact in 2003 and was named CEO in 2012. She previously spent more than two years as an account supervisor at Edelman.

Branding firm Lippincott expanded its executive team with the hiring of Cory Cruser as partner in its experience innovation practice. Cruser joins the firm from digital ad/marketing agency Razorfish, where he served as group director and lead of the data-driven marketing. Prior to joining Razorfish, he served as a manager/strategic consultant at professional services firm Ernst & Young.

The release tells us that Cruser’s duties at Lippincott will include insights regarding its digital services; his resume includes extensive work in the user experience field including establishment/management of data analysis and innovation capabilities. (Link)

Read more

Kraft Foods Sides with PR: ‘It’s Not You, Ad Agencies. It’s Us.’

new kraft foods

Late last week, Kraft Foods announced it was parting ways with many of its advertising agencies. Seven of its 11 ad agencies were unceremoniously shown the door.

The company believes having that many chefs in the kitchen can be bad for cooking. That many agencies playing the game of ‘Telephone’ proves the theory of lost in translation. So, Kraft Foods decided to greatly reduce the white noise. The move to go less with advertising is an effort to align its brands “more strategically with the particular strengths of agencies on our roster.”

Here’s the thing: the company is keeping all 12 of its PR firms on retainer. Strategery!!

Read more

Roll Call: Finn Partners, Carmichael Lynch, kglobal, and More

Finn Partners hired William Nowling as senior partner in its Detroit office. Before joining the firm, Nowling effectively managed the city of Detroit’s recent municipal bankruptcy filing while acting as comms director for Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn D. Orr. In the new role, he will direct strategy for the office on both the local and national levels while also attending to business growth and development concerns. Founding partner Peter Finn writes, “Finn Partners believes in Detroit’s renaissance…we see tremendous potential in Detroit and we’re deepening our commitment by expanding local capabilities.” Finn also hired Angela Corsi Leon, formerly of Weber Shandwick, as AVP of the Detroit office.

Carmichael Lynch of Minneapolis promoted Neil Goodspeed to the position of senior partner/director of consumer engagement. Goodspeed, who began his career in advertising and worked at agencies BBDO and OMD before landing the senior promotion planner position at General Mills, spearheaded a media plan for client Subaru which just won Adweek’s Media Plan of the Year Award.

Crisis comms expert and former journalist Gene Grabowski left LEVICK to join another D.C.-based firm, kglobal. As partner, Grabowski will handle business development, client services, and client counseling while directing major campaigns. He spent 11 years at Levick, rising to the title of EVP.

Read more

Roll Call: Brand.com, Waggener Edstrom, DKC PR, and More

Dave Armon, friend of the site and president of monitoring software provider Critical Mention for the past three years, is now president and CEO at Brand.com, a maker of content marketing software for both brands and publishers. President and founder Michael Zammuto is heading back into the startup space with a company called Cloud Commerce. Armon will focus on growing the company, whose offering he described to PR Week as “paid earned,” adding that “nothing like that exists today.” O’Dwyer’s notes that the company is in the process of unveiling a service “allowing brands and PR firms to commission reporter-written articles.” Armon is a reporter turned executive who spent more than two decades in various roles at PR Newswire earlier in his career, rising from bureau manager to COO. (We just hope he continues to leave the occasional comment on this blog.)

Waggener Edstrom announced the hire of two new executives in an expansion of its tech and digital teams. Emily Benning joins the team in Seattle as director of social and digital strategies; she will oversee North America account teams and clients while helping to drive “internal digital education initiatives.” Benning previously spent more than eight years at digital agency Razorfish, where she served as account manager and, most recently, associate director of advertising services. She will report to VP of social/digital strategies Matt Haynes. Marisa Hagerman joins the agency as a digital account director in its San Francisco office. Hagerman, who spent several years working in accounts at Allison+Partners and most recently served as PR principal at IT provider EMC, will report to SVP/GM Lisa Allen.

As reported in Capital New York yesterday, former Huffington Post PR lead Mario Ruiz is heading back to DKC PR. Ruiz, who led communications at Arianna Huffington’s venture before starting his own firm and w0rking with media outlets like Business Insider and Complex. Ruiz worked at DKC before joining HuffPo in the halcyon days of 2007, working in media relations for more than five years. In explaining the hire, DKC writes, “”Mario has developed a strong reputation in digital, which is why he’ll be a great addition to our media and tech practices.”

Read more

Roll Call: Edelman, Ruder Finn, Hill+Knowlton and More

Today Edelman announced the appointment of three new global sector chairs. Tish Van Dyke will run Food and Beverage, Deidre H. Campbell Financial Services and Amy Hemingway Energy. The three new appointees will report to global director of sectors/global chair of Edelman Health Kym White.

In the release, White notes that the move marks an attempt to further consolidate the firm’s practices by appointing “specialists with deep knowledge of their businesses” to chair each sector and serve various clients united by business but separated by geography, language and culture.

Van Dyke has been with Edelman for 17 years, most recently as a D.C.-based general manager directing the firm’s “pan-industry health engagement efforts” and serving on its global health team. Campbell, who joined the Corporate practice a year ago after building a career in various financial communications roles, will lead a “team of more than 150 financial services communications experts” in here new position. Hemingway, who joined the firm in 2006 and has led campaigns for various energy companies, noted that in her new role she will encourage Edelman clients in the natural resources, clean tech and power industries to be more transparent in their engagement with stakeholders and media.

Robin Kim will be EVP/MD of global technology at Ruder Finn as of November 10. Kim previously served as EVP at Edelman’s Silicon Valley practice, where she oversaw the firm’s enterprise and B2B technology group. In addition to supporting general growth in the San Francisco region, she will support the firm’s growing roster of tech clients. Prior to joining Edelman, Kim spent more than 16 years within the WPP organization, playing various management roles at Burson-Marsteller, Cohn & Wolfe and Hill & Knowlton. She will report to CEO Kathy Bloomgarden.

Read more

Roll Call: Waggener Edstrom; H+K Canada; Hemp PR; And More

Waggener Edstrom promoted Tiffany Cook from EVP to VP/head of its consumer sector. Cook, who has been with WE for 16 years, will oversee related efforts across the retail, consumer technology, automotive, and spirits industries. PR Week tells us that she will report to co-founder/partner Pam Edstrom.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies‘ Canadian operations named Dimitri Gourdin SVP and GM of its Montreal office. Gourdin, who earned a law degree at Paris’ Panthéon-Assas University and a masters’ from Paris Management School, previously served as VP of marketing/comms at BIOMOD, a biotech company serving the health and beauty industries. In the 90′s he worked in crisis comms at Burson-Marsteller’s Paris office and in 2005 he launched his own Montreal-based firm called Arcane Communications.

Mark Goldman and Ryan McCormick, PR veterans and founders of both Goldman McCormick PR and Legal PR Team, have announced the creation of a new firm called, simply, Hemp Public Relations. We’ll let you guess which sort of clients they plan to serve — and it’s OK if you’re, like, a little slow

Read more

What You Could Have Bought on ‘National Boss Day’ But Didn’t

Worlds-Best-BossPublic relations is no different than any other industry — folk just have it in for the boss. Come on, people with alphabet soup in your title, statistics prove this to be true.

Even though our unemployment rate ebbs and flows from barely tolerable to utterly uncontrollable, more than 2 million people each month quit. Why? Polls have shown that at least 70 percent of U.S. workers have negative feelings about their jobs – and we shouldn’t assume that PR is any different.

ICYMI (and you probably did, reading that): National Boss Day was last week, and a few brands took the opportunity to honor their bosses promote themselves. If you didn’t get your PR director anything here’s a glorious idea for the PRNewserverse next year.

Read more

Roll Call: ABC News, FleishmanHillard, MWW, and More

ABC News SVP/chief spokesman Jeffrey Schneider announced that he will be leaving the network to launch his own PR firm, Schneider Global Strategy. Our sister site TVNewser noted that Schneider will remain at ABC through the upcoming midterm elections and that ABC News and Disney/ABC TV will be the first clients at his media relations/crisis management-focused firm. After Schneider’s departure, his former deputy Julie Townsend will run the ABC PR team.

FleishmanHillard opened its first Brazilian office in the country’s largest city, Sao Paulo, with the help of local communications holding company Groupo In PressJunia Nogueira de Sá, a veteran journalist with a history of performing communications work for both public and private entities in Brazil, has been appointed as managing director of FleishmanHillard’s operations in that country. Groupo In Press also involves public affairs and government relations services as well as In Press Media Guide (sports PR), Vbrand (multiplatform videos), and MAP – Mapeamento, Analise & Perspectiva (analysis and measurement).

Arthur Schwartz has joined MWW to serve as SVP/AD of the company’s corporate comms practice. Interestingly, the release describes Schwartz as “a Respected GOP Operative” while MWW CEO Michael Kempner is known for his work in Democratic circles. Schwartz will bring his experience working with clients in heavily regulated industries to bear on responsibilities including “strategic consulting and communications, government affairs, crisis management and litigation strategy,” which he will lead for MWW clients.

Read more

Roll Call: MWW, GMR, And More

MWW named Ayofemi “Femi” Kirby, former communications director for the Congressional Black Caucus, as its newest corporate comms account supervisor.

Kirby, who earned a masters degree in PR from American University, previously worked on Capitol Hill directing comms for Congressman Adam Smith, ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee. She also spent three years working with Millennial-focused nonprofits Generation Engage and Mobilize.org. At MWW, she will help manage clients in both the public and private sectors; President/CEO Michael Kempner writes, “Femi is a significant addition to our nationally recognized crisis-management and corporate reputation teams.”

GMR Marketing announced two new staffing changes in its Los Angeles and New Berlin, Wisconsin offices. The agency promoted Dave Houston from senior director to vice president of client management and senior account director Casey Gartland to vice president of music and entertainment. Houston has been with GMR for nearly sixteen years and Gartland also brings more than 15 years’ experience to the new role. Houston began his career in events and has worked with clients including Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and PepsiCo; he will remain at GMR’s WI headquarters. Gartland, who has helped create partnerships with Deadmau5, The Jonas Brothers, Guy Fieri and others, will continue to be based in GMR’s LA office.

Read more

<< PREVIOUS PAGENEXT PAGE >>