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PR’s Revolving Door

Roll Call: Weber Shandwick and Code and Theory

Weber Shandwick announced the appointment of industry veteran Leslie Capstraw as general manager, Weber Shandwick Los Angeles, effective immediately. Capstraw will be responsible for day-to-day leadership of the office. With more than 20 years of experience, Capstraw has served as a senior strategist to global clients and managed integrated campaigns across a diverse range of industries and well-known brands in multiple markets. Capstraw joins from Ogilvy Public Relations where she most recently served as executive vice president, group director for Brand, and head of the Los Angeles office, focusing primarily in consumer and consumer technology sectors. Her expertise in brand building, content strategy, issues management and strategic partnerships has earned several industry awards. (Release)

Code and Theory announced the appointment of Chris Bradley as group creative director in the Brand Design Group in New York. Bradley comes to the agency from R/GA, where he served as executive creative director on the MasterCard® account, driving campaigns such as #LoveThisCity and most recently, Priceless Surprises. Prior to R/GA, he served as ECD at Big Fuel, where he worked on brands including T-Mobile, Microsoft, and GM Brands including Chevy, Cadillac, Buick and GMC. From 1999 to 2005, Bradley was creative director on the Volkswagen account at Arnold Worldwide in Boston, and from 2006 to 2011 he worked in both the New York and San Francisco office of Ogilvy & Mather. (Release)

Roll Call: Lippincott, Ogilvy, Slice Communications and More

Lippincott announced the promotions of both Fabian Diaz and Allen Gove, to the position of senior partner. As senior partner in Lippincott’s Experience Innovation practice, Diaz will continue to design breakthrough experiences, innovations and branded environments. Over his 14-year career at Lippincott, his expertise in developing design strategy and frameworks has led to award-winning design systems for his clients. Gove’s promotion to senior strategy partner comes after seven years of excellent client work in brand strategy development, including positioning, naming, brand architecture and activation. Gove provides vital guidance on some of the toughest challenges facing the healthcare industry and will continue to help redefine healthcare branding during his next phase at Lippincott. He has also been a key contributor to the strategy team’s recruiting and mentoring efforts. (Release)

Ogilvy hired Michele Anderson as managing director of its Chicago office. Anderson most recently served as director of Ketchum Atlanta, where she handled day-to-day operations; before that she ran the agency’s South Africa affiliate Magna Carta for 15 years. She will relocate to Chicago and begin her new role on April 1, reporting to Robert Mathias, Ogilvy PR North America CEO. In the new role, Anderson will work closely with the global Ogilvy organization as well as its Chicago marketing and advertising wings to oversee client accounts, financial performance, business development and talent/office operations in order to guide growth and strategic direction. (Release)

Public relations and social media agency Slice Communications, LLC, announced that it has hired Jenni Glenn as a public relations account supervisor. Glenn joined Sprout (NBCUniversal’s preschool television channel) in 2006 and spent the next seven years as head of communications for the network, most recently in the role of vice president of communications and marketing. While there, she acted as the network’s main media spokesperson and was a member of the senior executive team for Sprout, handling all internal and external communications, show publicity, talent relations, social media, crisis communications, prosocial and viewer services. Prior to joining Sprout, Glenn worked in various executive and manager-level communications positions at the Miss America Organization, QVC, Inc., CDNOW, Inc., and Milan Entertainment. (Release)

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Tesla Hires Former Nissan PR Chief to Lead Comms and Marketing Efforts

Tesla-Model-SAt the end of last week, Elon Musk‘s award-winning, famously combative electric car company Tesla Motors gave the world another sign that it’s very serious…about corporate communications.

According to this Ecomento headline, the company “poached” Simon Sproule, who previously headed communications for Renault-Nissan, for the VP of comms and marketing position.

Why make this move? Primarily because, in the words of InsideEVsJay Cole, Sproule helped Renault-Nissan become “the runaway leader when it comes to selling pure electric cars”. Also: Mr. Musk has always been the company’s most visible spokesperson. And while he may be a genius, he is not known as the world’s greatest media relations guy.

But this isn’t the only big PR move Tesla has made so far in 2014.

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Roll Call: Glover Park Group, Susan Magrino Agency and Egencia

The Glover Park Group (GPG) announced that Oliver Phillips joined the firm as a managing director, working across the company’s Public Affairs, Media Relations and Corporate Communication Practices. Oliver joins GPG from Brunswick Group, where he founded the Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Practice. Prior to joining Brunswick, Oliver ran global media strategy for UNICEF from 2003 to 2006, overseeing communications for the agency’s priority campaigns. Accompanying executive director Carol Bellamy, he led the first fact finding mission by a UN Agency head to the Darfur region of Sudan and oversaw global campaigns focused on access to clean water, reducing child mortality and increasing the availability of affordable pediatric AIDS drugs. From 2001 to 2003, he was senior advisor and communications director for California Governor Gray Davis, where, in the midst of the state’s energy crisis, he led communications for the nation’s first carbon emissions act. (Release)

Susan Magrino Agency announced first quarter internal promotions for several executive team members. Ana Calle has been promoted to senior account supervisor. She joined the agency as account supervisor in 2012 and continues to work on the Food, Wine & Spirits team. Bailey Horn has been promoted to account supervisor. Horn joined the agency as senior account executive in 2011, she will continue to work in the Consumer Division with a focus on beauty, health & wellness as well as fashion. Molly Peterson has been promoted to vice president in the Consumer Division overseeing the Home Furnishings & Design team. Peterson joined the agency in 2013 as senior account director. Brent Price has been promoted to senior account executive. She joined the agency as a trainee in 2011, and continues to work in the Consumer Division. John Rice has been promoted to senior account executive. Rice also joined the agency as a trainee in 2011 and continues to work in the Consumer Division. Annie Taplin has been promoted to account director for the Spirits team. She joined the agency in 2011 as senior account supervisor for the Travel, Food, Wine & Spirits divisions and will now oversee the Spirits portfolio for the agency. (Release)

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Roll Call: Ampush, HKA, Inc. and Seeking Alpha

Ampush announced that it has appointed Rick Cotton, an ad industry veteran with deep experience building and scaling fast-growing tech sales organizations, as its new CRO. Cotton brings over 15 years of experience and a solid track record of leading diverse digital organizations for disruptive companies in early stage areas, including native, programmatic and digital audio advertising. Most recently, he served as head of global advertising for Sequoia-backed TuneIn, a popular digital radio app, where he led global sales, platform partnerships and ad operations. Prior to that, he was a SVP/GM at Monster, where he launched and grew the company’s consumer advertising business while overseeing strategic operations. In his new role, Cotton will be responsible for the expansion of Ampush’s national sales team, and will work to ensure continued world-class customer service as the company scales. He’ll also play a key role in further developing and executing Ampush’s go-to-market strategy, working to continually collect market feedback in order to drive product enhancements and innovations. (Release)

HKA, Inc. Marketing Communications hired Andrew King and Lauren Stracner as account managers to lead many of the agency’s current and future client accounts. King and Stracner will be responsible for day-to-day account management, including the creation of strategic communication programs and the implementation of tactics aimed at producing measurable results across an array of client industries. King, a former award-winning real estate journalist, will manage select financial and professional services clients for HKA, including Farmers & Merchants Bank, Haskell & White LLP and First American Trust. Stracner will oversee a number of HKA’s clients in diverse industries, including Alzheimer’s Association Orange County, Fairhaven Memorial Park, Electron Beam Engineering, Inc. and Crystal Cove Alliance. Prior to joining HKA, Stracner led high-impact awareness campaigns, conducted media outreach and coordinated trade show logistics in the video game, telescope and smart-house engineering industries. (Release)

Seeking Alpha today Katherine Divney, formerly executive director of sales for the WSJ Digital Network, is joining Seeking Alpha as vice president of sales, reporting to Seeking Alpha’s U.S. President David Siegel, who joined the company in October. Under her guidance, Katherine’s team will enhance and expand Seeking Alpha’s market-leading suite of ad products and client solutions. Prior to the WSJ Digital Network, where she led MarketWatch through a period of outstanding global sales growth, Katherine held positions at Yahoo! and Digitas. (Release)

Roll Call: Rational 360, Peppercomm, Blackbird PR and More

Peter Barden, a PR and public affairs expert with more than 20 years of experience, has joined Rational 360 as a partner. Peter will work with the Rational 360 leadership team to expand the firm’s presence in New York and enhance the firm’s corporate, brand, public affairs and crisis management practices. Peter has designed and directed integrated public affairs campaigns for Fortune 500 companies and nonprofits in the energy, defense, media, manufacturing, environmental and finance industries. He currently serves as a senior strategist and director of communications for the Online Lenders Alliance (OLA) and will continue in that role in his new position at Rational 360. Previously, Barden was a managing director in Mercury/Clark & Weinstock’s Washington, D.C. public affairs practice, where he managed media relations, crisis communications and grassroots/grasstops advocacy for some of the firm’s top clients. (Release)

Peppercomm announced that Robyn Mait Levine has joined the firm as senior director of content strategy and development. In this newly created role, the former associate publisher will expand content service offerings and work with clients to create engaging content as a core principle of the agency’s Listen.Engage.Repeat strategy. The move reflects the agency’s philosophy of looking outside the traditional agency world to experts that help clients understand the needs of their audiences and develop strategies to drive meaningful engagement with those audiences. Mait Levine previously served as the associate publisher, integrated marketing for Redbook, a Hearst publication, where she was responsible for marketing strategy and cross-platform programs and partnerships for major advertisers. (Release) Read more

Roll Call: Weber Shandwick, Rubenstein PR and Nielsen

Weber Shandwick announced the appointment of Vanessa McDonald as senior vice president and national practice leader, Consumer and Technology, in the firm’s Toronto office. McDonald will be responsible for the growth and management of client business in Canada, contributing to the agency’s leadership across its Consumer and Technology practices. McDonald joins Weber Shandwick from NATIONAL Public Relations where she led the Marketing Communications Practice. Prior to this, she headed the London and San Francisco offices of Ballou PR, a Paris-based communications firm. She also held the position of associate director, Marketing at Capgemini, one of the world’s largest consulting firms. (Release)

Rubenstein Public Relations (RPR) announced that Megan Wilson has joined the agency as an associate vice president. Wilson brings several years of public relations experience managing consumer accounts in the fashion, fitness, restaurant, and wellness industries with a focus on event planning, media relations, strategic communications and new product launches. In her position as associate vice president, Wilson will develop and execute dynamic publicity campaigns for RPR’s clients. Wilson joins RPR from Krupp Kommunications, where she advanced from an account coordinator to the position of account executive and Media Specialist over the course of three years. (Release)

Nielsen announced the appointments of four senior marketing and communications leaders – Greg Daniel as chief digital marketing officer; Laura Nelson as chief communications officer; Saul Rosenberg as chief content officer; and Marcy Shinder as chief marketing officer. The appointments are effective immediately. Daniel will be responsible for developing and implementing innovative marketing and communication strategies across digital channels globally, including web, mobile and social. Nelson will be responsible for developing and sustaining an overarching messaging strategy that builds upon Nielsen’s legacy and highlights the innovations that drive the business forward. Rosenberg will leverage Nielsen’s proprietary assets to lead global conversations on issues of import to both the company and its clients, while creating valuable content that enhances Nielsen’s value proposition to internal and external stakeholders. Shinder will develop and lead the overall global marketing strategy and oversee Nielsen’s brand evolution, commercial go-to-market strategies, partnerships, and channel execution, including events, advertising and creative services. (Release)

Microsoft Sticks with Former Clinton Flack for Top Strategic Role


Microsoft isn’t listening to our advice.

Last week we learned that the company’s new CEO Satya Nadella was supposedly close to dropping former Clinton family flack/Burson-Marsteller head Mark Penn, now known as the guy behind all those anti-Google ads, as part of its brand refresh.

It now appears that Microsoft will take the very opposite approach by giving Penn the chief strategy officer position; he previously served as EVP of ads and strategy.

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Drake Fires PR Firm for ‘YOLO’ Mistakes

drake money

On his way to the club to make it rain with $73. YOLO, indeed.

Being the publicist of an idiot celebrity is nothing more than a logo and cash grab. Where’s the fulfillment in constantly being pressured to cover someone’s tracks because he or she can’t cover his or her mouth?

Take this fool, Drake.

Reports have come out via Billboard that Drake and ID-PR have parted ways because of the now infamous (and all-too-classy-response) Rolling Stone cover story that was to feature the doltish “singer/rapper” but instead this Philip Seymour Hoffman had to go take heroin and die. Hoffman gets the cover. Drake thought he was snubbed.

And the rest is after the jump (and there’s more where that came from)…

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Social Media Specialist Cohen Leaves MWW for FleishmannHillard

cohenToday FleishmannHillard announced that Ephraim Cohen, former EVP of innovation at MWW, would join the firm as its SVP, senior partner and east region social practice leader.

This means he’ll work to further the firm’s objectives in the New York/Boston area while ensuring that clients make the most of its social/digital assets. In the release, east region president Robert Dowling cites Cohen’s “strong understanding of the relationship between brand and reputation”, especially in the social/digital realm.

Prior to the move, Cohen handled brand journalism/native ads, community management and Big Data at MWW; before that he was best known as founder of The Fortex Group, a “community-building firm” that closed its doors in 2011.

Something tells us that his thinking falls along the same lines as new GolinHarris non-ninja Neil Kleiner: social ROI has less to do with likes and shares than creating content that people will actually read and facilitating the growth of real communities.

It has absolutely nothing to do with martial arts or Mike Myers bombs.