Ketchum promotes Flaherty to CEO; Kotcher becomes chairman

NEW YORK: Ketchum has promoted president Rob Flaherty to CEO, effective July 1. The Omnicom firm's current chief executive, Ray Kotcher, will assume the role of chairman at that time.

NEW YORK: Ketchum has promoted president Rob Flaherty to CEO, effective July 1. The Omnicom firm's current chief executive, Ray Kotcher, will assume the role of chairman at that time.

The agency has planned the leadership transition for several years, said Kotcher.

“We believe it's important for any organization to make sure it is always upping the game another notch,” he said. “It's our thinking that this is the best time to do this to make sure Ketchum stays a vigorous and vital agency.”

Flaherty, a 23-year Ketchum veteran, was named president of the agency in 2008. Previously, he was MD of the firm's New York office. Flaherty will remain the agency's president.

“I can't think of a better person than [Flaherty] to take over as CEO,” Kotcher said. “He's someone who believes deeply and personally in the value system of our agency.”

Kotcher joined Ketchum in 1983 and was appointed CEO in 2000 after eight years as president. The firm reported between $400 million and $450 million in global revenue and $250 million to $300 million in US revenue in 2011 for PRWeek's Agency Business Report. Kotcher was ranked No. 25 in the most recent edition of PRWeek's Power List.

As chairman, Kotcher will retain an active role at the Omnicom agency, focusing on strategy, client service, talent, and culture.

“It is a tremendous honor for me to succeed [Kotcher],” Flaherty said. “I look forward to continuing to benefit from his counsel and guidance.”

Earlier this month, the Cleveland Clinic hired Ketchum as its first AOR in its eight-decade history. The firm's major 2011 wins included Procter & Gamble's Gillette, US Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, Sharp Electronics, Weight Watchers, Fruit of the Loom, and Tourism Australia.

The move is the second leadership transition announced by a major agency in the past week. Fellow Omnicom firm Porter Novelli said Friday that CEO Gary Stockman will step aside next month and global strategy director Michael Ramah will serve as acting chief executive.

In February, Edelman promoted US CEO Matthew Harrington to global COO, effective July 1, and named Mark Hass, Edelman China president and former CEO of MS&L Worldwide, to replace him.

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