Hubbell out, Epstein in as Edelman changes PR21 focus once more

NEW YORK: PR21 has named Jerry Epstein as its new president and CEO, replacing Robert Hubbell. Epstein is the fourth person to take over PR21's top spot since the agency's inception in 1998.

NEW YORK: PR21 has named Jerry Epstein as its new president and CEO, replacing Robert Hubbell. Epstein is the fourth person to take over PR21's top spot since the agency's inception in 1998.

Richard Edelman, CEO of PR21's parent company, said that the unusually frequent turnover at the top was due to his changing vision of the agency over its four-year history, according to what the economic winds blew in its direction.

Will Sullivan, the firm's first CEO, was largely focused on technology, while his successor's - Gus Weill - forte was public affairs. Epstein's predecessor Hubbell was hired for his corporate and financial strengths.

"Particularly in a recession, an agency like this needs to focus, said Edelman. "If PR21 is going to grow from a $16 million firm to a $30 million firm, I need to bring in a charismatic marketing person who is going to go out and sell like hell."

Epstein spent 17 years at Fleishman-Hillard before he left to open PeopleTrends, an incentive-based motivational company, in 1999.

"There was never any doubt in my mind that I wanted to get back to the agency world, said Epstein. PeopleTrends failed to secure additional financing for the upcoming year.

While focusing primarily on marketing, Epstein said he'd like to see the agency "push the envelope a little more by packaging new products that wouldn't traditionally be seen as tools of communications. Citing paranoia from his experience in the dot-com days, Epstein said he could not reveal specifics.

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