Ketchum ups Access CEO Butenhoff to dual role running global tech practice

The Omnicom Group firm has promoted Butenhoff to director of Ketchum's global technology business.

NEW YORK: Ketchum has promoted Susan Butenhoff, leader of subsidiary firm Access Communications, to a dual role helming its technology practice globally while maintaining her position at Access.

The Omnicom Group firm has promoted Butenhoff to director of Ketchum’s global technology business. She is replacing Esty Pujadas, who has taken on the role of global development officer after having worked in a dual role since last year. Pujadas will work with global and local leadership on new client opportunities, reporting to Jon Higgins, senior partner and CEO of international operations for Ketchum.

Matthew Afflixio, EVP and creative director, was promoted to president of Access. Responsible for the day-to-day operations of the firm, he will continue to report to Butenhoff.

All three role changes are effective on Tuesday.

Ketchum bought Access in 2008 and has run it as a standalone agency for the past six years. Access, which has a staff of 87, will remain a separate brand and will move to new offices in San Francisco next Monday.

Butenhoff will be based in Access’ new location, but will spend more time at Ketchum’s San Francisco and New York offices and work with the wider global network. In her role at Ketchum, Butenhoff will report to Hilary Hanson McKean, partner and MD of global practices, and continue to report to Barri Rafferty, senior partner and CEO of North America for her Access responsibilities.

Butenhoff explained that the goal of the people moves is expertise-sharing, which will strengthen Ketchum’s technology practice and boost capabilities at Access where Ketchum has long-standing experience, such as corporate affairs and celebrity relations.

"The first challenge will be to get a sense of unity. We are going to target multinational brands, and they need to be confident our strategic and creative approaches are homogonous across all our practices," said Butenhoff.

She added that her "roots are at Ketchum," having worked there in the past, so she knows the agency very well.

The promotions are the latest in a string of high-level people moves at Ketchum in recent months. Earlier in August, Deanne Yamamoto, partner and West Coast brand practice leader at Ketchum, rejoined Golin as Los Angeles MD. Former Washington, DC, office leader Nick Ragone left to become CCO at health system Ascension in June.  

Earlier this month, Ketchum brought on former Coca-Cola North America VP Diana Garza Ciarlante as Atlanta office director, and it hired former Katie producer Lori Beecher as EVP earlier this month.

In 2013, the firm's global revenue increased in the high single digits. The firm cut staff in its East Coast offices in June.

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