CHICAGO: Keith Burton has left his role as a partner in Brunswick Group’s New York office to run his own PR consultancy, Grayson Emmett Partners.
The shop, founded earlier this summer, is specializing in employee engagement and working with major brands in sectors such as banking and finance, manufacturing, and consumer products. He will focus on employee and change-related programs, such as post-merger company integration, crisis conditions, restructuring, and staff expansion or reduction.
Burton named the consultancy after his grandchildren.
"Employee engagement is the most significant need I am contacted about," he said. "Employees are often uncertain about the direction of a company or what their future may be, and companies – no matter the size – are not as effective as they would like to be in engaging their people well."
Burton departed Brunswick in May to form the independent consultancy. While at the firm, which he joined last February, Burton was responsible for leading and expanding Brunswick’s employee communications and engagement practice.
Although he worked with the agency’s New York office, Burton’s base was his home in Chicago. He said the firm planned to open an office in the Windy City, but "timing and business conditions weren’t right." Because of that, he said he traveled 46 of 52 weeks while employed at the firm.
"I loved my time at Brunswick and have great relationships there, but I wanted to be able to devote more time to my family and build on the work I started before traveling so much," he explained.
Burton said he continues to consult with Brunswick on clients with employee-engagement needs in the new role.
A representative from Brunswick was not immediately available to comment on Burton’s replacement.
Prior to joining the firm, Burton served as president of GolinHarris’ internal communications unit, Insidedge.
Prior to joining Golin in 1999, Burton held a number of senior roles at other PR agencies. He has served as EVP and MD for Ketchum’s Chicago office, led Hill & Knowlton's Midwest region and Chicago branch, and oversaw the corporate group in H&K’s Dallas office.