Mark Penn has mostly dropped from the headlines since the last presidential election, when he faced a torrent of criticism after Hillary Clinton's campaign lost to that of then-Sen. Barack Obama in the Democratic primaries. However, Penn's status in the PR industry hasn't diminished, nor has his reputation as one of its hardest working executives. Aside from running a top-five agency network, Penn is also chief executive of polling firm Penn Schoen Berland, which counts former President Bill Clinton and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair among its success stories.
Penn still has challenges ahead of him. Burson will have to continue growing its digital offerings for clients to adjust to a world where brands must respond in real time to crises. But with the next Costa Crociere or Foxconn right around the corner, Burson's services aren't going out of style anytime soon. Yet Penn will have to continue to expand the firm's services in healthcare and consumer marketing. As any reader of parent WPP Group's earnings statements will tell you, holding company CEO Martin Sorrell has a keen eye on the public affairs sector. As with all holding company bosses, Penn will aim to keep Burson out of the negative headlines and grow its bottom line.