Ziegaus parts company with SZ&M

SAN DIEGO: Stoorza Ziegaus & Metzger has lost one of its longtime leaders.

SAN DIEGO: Stoorza Ziegaus & Metzger has lost one of its longtime leaders.

SAN DIEGO: Stoorza Ziegaus & Metzger has lost one of its longtime

leaders.



Alan Ziegaus, who spent more than 16 years as a senior exec at the San

Diego-based PR and public affairs firm, exited February 29 ’to pursue

some particular business interests,’ he said in a statement released

last week.



Chairperson Gail Stoorza-Gill said it has not yet been decided whether

her agency will be renamed now that both Ziegaus and Bobbi Metzger (the

former head of the Sacramento office, who departed several years ago)

are no longer with the company.



A leading Republican strategist, Ziegaus headed up much of SZ&M’s

political campaign work, serving as senior counsel during Governor Pete

Wilson’s successful 1994 reelection bid. In addition, the longtime

partner wore many management hats at the agency and was president until

David De Pinto’s appointment as CEO last July. Most recently, he had

been in charge of the San Diego public affairs practice - a position De

Pinto said he hopes to have filled within the next week or two.



’While it’s sad that Alan is leaving, he has definitely made his mark on

the agency,’ said Stoorza-Gill.



Ziegaus’ departure has been viewed as another sign that Stoorza-Gill is

putting the agency on the auction block, but both she and De Pinto

insist the firm is committed to remaining independent.



’Before hiring Dave last year, I came to a very studied decision to not

sell the agency,’ Stoorza-Gill stressed. Added De Pinto, ’We are very

clear about our goal of staying independent. Alan’s leaving doesn’t

change anything regarding the direction of the firm.’



SZ&M may not be courting a buyer right now, but several industry players

said the firm was taking meetings about a year ago. ’I know they were in

talks with at least two major agencies, but didn’t find the right

suitor.



Maybe that’s why Gail decided to hire De Pinto to handle day-to-day

management of the firm,’ said one source.



As the last remaining independent agencies with solid strongholds in the

lucrative California public-affairs arena, SZ&M, LA-based Rogers &

Associates and Sacramento’s Deen & Black are considered hot

properties.



As one local pro put it, ’You simply cannot be a large independent in

California without getting knocks on your door.’



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