Fleishman pulls out of Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE: Fleishman-Hillard is closing its Milwaukee outpost and transferring three key staffers to Chicago.

MILWAUKEE: Fleishman-Hillard is closing its Milwaukee outpost and transferring three key staffers to Chicago.

MILWAUKEE: Fleishman-Hillard is closing its Milwaukee outpost and

transferring three key staffers to Chicago.



Robert McEwen, SVP and GM of the Chicago office, emphasized that the

move doesn’t reflect problems in the Milwaukee market or with the firm’s

business in the region. Rather, he claimed that the agency feels it can

better serve clients using the full range of resources it boasts in

Chicago.



’The driving factor is client service,’ McEwen said.



Milwaukee SVP Rae Ann Johnson has been wearing several hats of late,

maintaining residences in Milwaukee and Chicago. In addition to

overseeing Milwaukee operations, she is also director of the firm’s

branding practice.



She began a new business push in Milwaukee 15 months ago that brought in

clients such as Harley-Davidson.



’Rae Ann and her team have done a tremendous job of opening that

territory for Fleishman,’ McEwen said. The firm, whose Milwaukee office

recorded PR fees of roughly dollars 1.5 million last year, also

represents other area stalwarts such as Johnson Controls and Briggs &

Stratton.



Others in the Milwaukee PR world were surprised by Fleishman’s

desertion, but stressed that the market is a healthy one. The Milwaukee

office of Wisconsin PR powerhouse Morgan & Myers, for example, saw a 47%

fee increase this year to an estimated dollars 1.7 million, according to

president Linda Wenck.



Still, despite the growth, the market may not be attractive to large

multinational PR firms searching for major corporate business. ’I don’t

think Milwaukee has ever been characterized as a town that has lots of

large corporate accounts,’ Wenck conceded.



Harry Cherkinian, president of the local PRSA chapter, said firms are

often being hired on a project-by-project basis than on retainer. This

atmosphere, he believes, has spurred the creation of more small PR firms

in the city. While Cherkinian would not comment specifically about

Fleishman (he worked in the firm’s Milwaukee office until February, when

he left to found Cherkinian & Company), he pointed to healthcare and

manufacturing as potential growth areas.



Moving with Johnson to Fleishman’s Chicago office are managing

supervisor Wendy Greenfield and AE Jody Jucken. The agency’s Chicago

office is on pace to record fee growth between 25% and 30% this year,

not including the Milwaukee additions.



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