DenHerder named Burson US CEO, Ford vice chair

WASHINGTON: Burson-Marsteller has promoted Patrick Ford to global vice chairman for client service and Dave DenHerder to CEO for the US, effective January 1, 2012.

WASHINGTON: Burson-Marsteller has promoted Patrick Ford to global vice chairman for client service and Dave DenHerder to CEO for the US, effective January 1, 2012.

Ford has served as Burson's US CEO since 2006, while DenHerder has worked as CEO of Direct Impact, the agency's grassroots public affairs and corporate reputation subsidiary, since 2007. DenHerder was also holding company WPP Group's global client lead for Ford Motor Company.

Both Ford and DenHerder will report to Mark Penn, worldwide CEO of Burson. Based in Washington, DC, both will also serve as members of the firm's business operations team with other senior executives.

Ford will join former Clinton White House senior advisor Donald Baer and Karen Hughes, former counselor to President George W. Bush, as the agency's worldwide vice chairs.

“What we felt is that we needed someone at the global board level with a lot of experience working with the client, knowing what they value and respond well to and who has led a lot of client relationships, to work with them around the world,” said Ford, 60.

Nicole Cornish, Direct Impact's president, will assume the unit's leadership, while consumer and brand marketing MD Laura Hall will become Burson's client lead for Ford Motor Company.

Ford, who joined the agency in 1989, has served as a senior managing director in its public affairs practice and chairman of its corporate-finance unit. Previously, he was VP of public affairs at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

DenHerder, 39, joined Direct Impact in 2005 as COO. Previously, he was regional political director for the 2004 Bush/Cheney presidential campaign and White House liaison and special assistant to Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. DenHerder was also Iowa field director for the Bush/Cheney campaign in 2000.

He said he plans to follow the lead of Penn and Ford on the overall vision for the firm, as well as “doing a lot of listening” to Burson staffers before formulating overall goals for the next year. However, DenHerder mentioned that an overreaching agency goal is “to be the best in the industry.”

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