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PR’s Revolving Door

BuzzFeed Promotes PR Lead to Chief of Staff/Advisory Role

Ashley McCollumWant to know what it’s like to work for BuzzFeed? Today, the media company promoted Ashley McCollum (follow her on Twitter) from head of PR to a chief staffing and “advisor to the executive team” role while also naming Dao Nguyen to the new position of “Publisher.” More specifically, McCollum’s official title changed from “VP, Communications and Business Development” to “Chief of Staff.” She will also serve as a personal advisor to founder/CEO Jonah Peretti.

Some quick facts about McCollum: she has spent nearly three years in comms role at BuzzFeed after working in NBC’s communications and marketing department; she is a Carolina girl who loves Charleston even more than we do but is not, as she clarified on Twitter this afternoon, a Gamecocks fan. (The Clemson/USC division runs in deep in Palmetto Country.)

We also got an update of sorts on the general BuzzFeed PR structure: Ashley still officially runs communications at the company, though they are currently looking for a senior executive to work with her and Peretti on the strategic front. Senior comms manager Christina DiRusso (follow her on Twitter, OBV) handles PR on the biz/tech side while Cat Bartosevich (follow her too) handles things for editorial.

All parties recommend that PRs continue pitching BuzzFeed writers directly with story ideas. Their contact info is easy to find.

The memo from Peretti, which went out this morning, after the jump.

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Roll Call: Edelman, Burson-Marsteller, Kwittken And More

Edelman named Deb Kazenelson Deane EVP and group head for its Los Angeles-based corporate practice. An eight-year Edelman vet and expert in Hispanic marketing, Kazenelson previously worked in areas as varied as recalls, M&A and “workforce reductions.” She often serves as the firm’s go-to representative for clients who need bilingual professionals and she also sits on the board of directors for the LA Family Housing and UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

Before joining Edelman, Kazenelson led her own indie consultancy and helped launch PainePR’s Los Angeles office; in her new role she reports to Edelman LA GM James Williams, who cites her “broad experience and success in driving impactful global programs” in the press release. (Edelman)

Another Edelman staffer is moving to Burson-Marsteller. Brady Mays, who served as general manager at Edelman’s 75-strong Chicago office, will join Burson as managing director of digital integration in the U.S. “Anti-social media douchebag” Mays joined Edelman to lead digital exactly one year ago; in his new role (which began October 1st), he will remain in Chicago and report to Thomas Gensemer, U.S. Chief Strategy Officer. The release states that he will work with other Burson practice leaders to promote the firm’s digital offering. (Burson-Marsteller)

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Roll Call: Hill+Knowlton, SPM Communications, Priceline and More

Today Hill+Knowlton announced the appointment of media/PR veteran Chris Winans as the new general manager of its New York office.

Winans, who begins the new role October 13th, most recently served as chief of comms and marketing at Promontory Financial Group, a “leading regulatory advisor.” Before joining Promontory, Winans held similar positions at AXA US, AIG, Lehman Brothers, and Morgan Stanley (he served as head of media relations at AIG from 2005-2008). While Winans’ LinkedIn bio describes him as a “proven leader in corporate and crisis communications and marketing,” he began his career in journalism, spending more than a decade as a national news editor at The Wall Street Journal.

H+K Americas President/CEO Mike Coates writes, “Experience and success like Chris has had in navigating unprecedented business upheavals of recent years is exactly the reason our clients look to us.” (Release)

SPM Communications announced the launch of a sister agency called MediaLine. The purpose of MediaLine PR, founded by SPM President Suzanne Miller and longtime SPM executive Rebecca Wilkins (who will run the new agency) is to allow the agency to grow and add new clients in the “restaurant, food and franchise” sectors. In the release, Miller clarifies that SPM, which celebrated its 15th anniversary this year, wanted to “be able to say yes to great brands that would approach us for PR support, but who were competitors of our existing clients.”

MediaLine opens its doors armed with a client roster including Chipotle Mexican Grill, Cheddar’s Casual Cafe and more. (Release)
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Roll Call: Edelman, Eastwick, Aon and More

Michelle Hutton will be head of Edelman’s Global Consumer Marketing practice effective November 1st. Hutton, who currently serves as CEO of Edelman Australia, will succeed Jennifer Cohan, who was recently named president of Edelman New York. Cohan will relocate to the firm’s London office and report to president of practices, sectors and offerings Ben Boyd. The release notes that Edelman’s Australian office tripled in size during Hutton’s tenure and that she oversaw the 2012 acquisition of digital agency Design Royale. Before joining Edelman, Hutton served as chief executive of Hill & Knowlton’s Australasian practice. (mUmBRELLA)

Sunnyvale, California’s tech-focused comms firm Eastwick announced several new hires marking the expansion of its various services. Eastwick, which opened its first New York office in April, named Sahana Jayaraman as VP of its Digital & Content Marketing Group. Jayaraman, who joined Eastwick in February after stints in digital and social at Peppercom and FleishmanHillard, will handle the development, delivery and promotion of sponsored content across all channels.

Jun Quintana, who previously served as VP of research and analytics at Fleishman’s San Francisco office, now leads the same group at Eastwick.

Michael Kanellos has been promoted from VP to SVP. Kanellos previously reported on tech and green concerns for C|Net and Greentech Media, and in his new position he will head Eastwick’s Editorial Group to help produce written materials for clients. He will continue to lead the Cleantech group as well.

Dave De Jear joins Eastwick as SVP of client services after serving as senior director of corporate communications at Bay Area software producer Sophos.

Sharon Chan, who joined the firm in 2012, has been promoted to industry lead for the Asia-Pacific region. In her new role, she will lead Eastwick’s efforts to advise companies expanding their services in both the US and APAC. (Release)

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Golin Appoints Edelman, Clinton Vet to Manage D.C.-Area Offices

golin logo

Golin hired Neal Flieger, veteran of Edelman and various high-profile political campaigns, to manage its three Washington, D.C. area offices: Richmond, Baltimore and our nation’s capital.

Flieger spent a rare, unbroken 20-year stint at Edelman before making the move; one of his key roles at the firm involved leading its research firm StrategyOne while serving as Chair of Edelman Berland.

The list of clients for which he directed corporate reputation work, investor relations, anti-trust efforts(!) and more is as long as varied as you’d expect: it includes Samsung, Starbucks, Monsanto, Walmart, Pepsi, Yum Brands and many more.

Before he entered the agency world, however, Flieger was best known for helping to run the successive presidential campaigns of Paul Tsongas, Michael Dukakis and Bill Clinton. During the Clinton administration, he ran communications for the House Select Committee on Hunger and served as deputy administrator of the USDA’s Food and Consumer Service agency.

Flieger will report to Gary Rudnick, president of Golin Americas.

Roll Call: Waggener Edstrom Communications, Eastwick, Portland and More

Waggener Edstrom Communications announced the integrated communications agency has brought on industry veteran Chris Millward as general manager for its China operations. Millward is a veteran in the China market and has lived in Beijing continuously since 1994. He has worked with several of the world’s top public relations agencies including Edelman and Weber Shandwick and a host of multinational companies. Millward will report to senior vice president Matt Lackie, who oversees WE’s Asia Pacific presence, and work closely with other leaders in the region including Beijing General Manager Jason Cao, Shanghai vice president and general manager Cathleen Witter, and Hong Kong vice president and general manager Emma Richards. Millward takes over for Antoine Calendrier, who had been overseeing China from his home base in Hong Kong.  (Release)

Eastwick announced an expansion of its digital, social, editorial and research and analytics services with the addition of senior industry leaders to its team. Leading Eastwick’s Digital & Content Marketing Group is Sahana Jayaraman, vice president. In addition to her role as head of digital services, Sahana will lead the agency’s Content Marketing Group, responsible for branded content. Jun Quintana joins Eastwick as vice president to lead the company’s Research & Analytics Group. Jun brings more than 18 years of experience working in both traditional market research and communications/social media measurement. Michael Kanellos has been promoted to senior vice president and takes on responsibility for Eastwick’s Editorial Group, where he is continuing to build Eastwick’s strong tech-focused writing proficiency. Michael also continues to oversee Eastwick’s Cleantech practice. Joining Eastwick as senior vice president, client services, is Dave De Jear. Dave brings to Eastwick more than 20 years of experience in communications, public relations and marketing. Eastwick is also adding industry experts to round out global connections. Sharon Chan, who joined Eastwick from Hong Kong in 2012, has been promoted to Asia-Pacific (APAC) Industry Lead.  (Release) Read more

Roll Call: Golin, FleishmanHillard, KIND and Alaska Airlines

Golin has hired Deanne Yamamoto as the managing director of its Los Angeles office. Yamamoto rejoins Golin after more than 16 years at Ketchum, where she most recently served as partner and West Coast brand practice leader. She officially assumed her role at Golin on September 2 and reports to Gary Rudnick, president of the Americas. In addition to overseeing Los Angeles’ staff of 100, Yamamoto will offer senior counsel to clients, and will focus on employee development and the expansion of Golin’s business in Southern California. (Release)

FleishmanHillard has appointed new leadership for its global crisis management team. Brian West, based in Singapore, will serve as the firm’s global crisis management lead and also will lead the crisis team in Asia Pacific. Chris Nelson, based in New York, will lead crisis management for the Americas, and James Dunny, based in Dublin, will serve as lead for EMEA. The three will oversee a team that includes more than 100 of FleishmanHillard’s most senior crisis counselors. West, a senior vice president and senior partner, has served as interim chair of the firm’s global crisis practice since early 2013. He has overseen the introduction of FleishmanHillard’s new crisis management methodology A.R.C.™ (Assess. Resolve. Control.), and he has helped build an internal training program that certifies the firm’s crisis counselors through a proprietary program developed with input from crisis management veterans and educators. Nelson, a senior vice president and partner, has more than 20 years’ experience as a crisis management consultant. He has guided CEOs and their executive teams through hundreds of high-profile crisis situations, including data breaches, product recalls, chemical spills, workplace violence, employee malfeasance, crises of investor confidence and corporate espionage. Dunny, the new head of FleishmanHilllard’s EMEA crisis management team, has nearly two decades of experience working with companies across a variety of sectors, including pharma, tech, agriculture, food, energy and media. He has advised companies through numerous crises and issues across Europe and the Middle East and brings particular experience in the areas of emergency response, industrial relations, litigation, product recalls and corporate restructuring. (Release)

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Top Google Comms Exec Heads to Snapchat

Jill HazelbakerSeems Snapchat was well aware of its own shortcomings on the messaging front: the not-quite-disappearing message app company has hired Jill Hazelbaker, former senior director of corporate comms and government relations at Google.

In confirming the change this morning, Re\code notes that Snapchat didn’t exactly announce it publicly — nor did the company send out formal press releases when it hired Facebook veteran Sara Sperling to run its HR department last month.

Hazelbaker’s responsibilities will presumably include helping the increasingly mis-categorized “startup” manage its messaging efforts and minimize unflattering press as it continues to expand.

Interesting things to note about Hazelbaker: prior to joining Google, she worked in politics on the center-right side of the aisle, serving as senior advisor to New York mayor Michael Bloomberg when he ran for a third term and directing national communications for Senator John McCain’s 2007-2008 presidential campaign.

She’s also never tweeted, though she does follow Henry Blodget…

Roll Call: W2O Group, Starcom MediaVest Group and D S Simon and More

W2O Group announced the opening of a San Diego office to serve a growing client base and strengthen its presence in key markets for the growth of its health and technology businesses. The Company has hired David Walsey as managing director of BrewLife, a W2O Group company, to run and grow this office, particularly in the areas of biotechnology, life sciences, medical device, healthcare delivery, digital health and consumer and B2B technology. Walsey joins W2O Group from Optimer Pharmaceuticals, where he served as vice president of Corporate Communications and Investor Relations, delivering business solutions for corporate objectives spanning corporate communications, investor and media relations, business development and crisis communications. In his new role, he will provide senior communications and investor relations counsel to clients. He has more than 15 years of experience leading communications functions for biopharmaceutical companies and 10 years as an attorney in private practice. (Release)

Starcom MediaVest Group has appointed Sue Frogley to its team as global commercial director, where she will be responsible for building commercial relationships. Joining the team from Dentsu Aegis Media, Frogley will work across all of SMG’s global network clients and will drive client revenue in the newly created role. (Release)

Bev Yehuda has joined the digital, social, video communications firm D S Simon as SVP, operations and digital media. She will lead the firm’s rapidly growing digital business, expand on client offerings while providing senior level counsel to the firm’s roster of Fortune 500 clients and leading non-profits. Prior to joining D S Simon, Yehuda was VP, web engagement at PR Newswire, a division of global media giant UBM and VP, New Products at MultiVu a PR Newswire company. (Release)

Volkswagen has elevated international communications head Mario Guerreiro to its top American PR slot. Guerreiro has been stationed in VW’s home country of Germany as head of international communications, and will move to Volkswagen Group of America in Herndon, Va., Oct. 1 as executive VP to head communications for the group and brand stateside, including PR, corporate media relations and internal comms. (O’Dwyer’s)

Roll Call: Edelman, Ruder Finn and The Digital Consultancy

Edelman has named Stephanie Lvovich global chair of its Public Affairs practice, effective October 13, 2014. Lvovich, formerly executive director and global chair of the food and consumer products practice at APCO Worldwide, will lead the firm’s global Public Affairs practice, which encompasses over 275 professionals worldwide. She will be based in the firm’s London office. At APCO Worldwide, Lvovich led the creation of and managed APCO’s global food and consumer products practice. She also oversaw international accounts for major food and consumer products companies including the Coca-Cola Company, Mead Johnson Nutrition, Mars Incorporated, SABMiller and many others. Lvovich also built and managed APCO’s business development function for Europe, India and the Middle East and helped support business and client expansion, particularly in the Gulf region. (Release)

Ruder Finn, Inc. announced that it has hired Peggy Walsh as its global chief financial officer. With 20 years of experience in business operations and finance, Peggy will oversee finance for Ruder Finn’s 12 offices across the U.S., Asia and the U.K. Peggy is coming to Ruder Finn from Ketchum, where she spent 15 years, most recently serving as Senior Vice President and Director of Finance and Operations. Walsh’s hire comes in light of Ruder Finn’s ongoing growth surge, with the agency’s key focus areas – Health & Wellness, Corporate & Public Trust, Technology & Innovation, and Consumer Connections – all growing. (Release)

The Digital Consultancy announced that Greg Verdino will launch and lead its North American office. In his role as managing director, Verdino will build upon The Digital Consultancy’s client-proven methodologies to deliver the comprehensive, impartial strategies that global organizations need in order to thrive in a constantly evolving digital economy. Verdino joins The Digital Consultancy after nearly 25 years working at the forefront of marketing, media and technology change. His career has included time as executive vice president of strategy at social business firm Dachis Group, chief strategy officer at pioneering social media consultancy crayon, and vice president of emerging channels at Digitas. His experience also includes seven years in senior marketing, sales and general management roles at a variety of technology startups, as well as agency stints at Blau Marketing Technologies, Wunderman and Saatchi & Saatchi. He most recently ran his own consulting practice, advising organizations in the media, healthcare, retail and public sectors on digital strategy, marketing, and transformation. (Release)

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