Bender/Helper Impact rebrands amid leadership shuffle

After 30 years as Bender/Helper Impact, it was time for a change as cofounder Lee Helper left the firm.

LOS ANGELES: After three decades under the Bender/Helper Impact banner, the entertainment- and tech-focused PR firm is changing its name to B/HI, reflecting cofounder Lee Helper’s departure and other senior management changes.

Helper left the firm to pursue his entrepreneurial interests, according to cofounder Dean Bender, who is serving as president. The firm also promoted both Los Angeles EVP Shawna Lynch and New York GM Jerry Griffin to managing partner, forming a leadership trio across the agency’s three offices, which have 36 staffers in total.

Helper was not immediately available for comment.

Lynch has worked at B/HI for 27 years, while Griffin has served as the agency’s GM for more than four years. Previously, he had a six-year tenure as SVP at Edelman and has also worked at Text100 and PAN Communications.

Bender said the effort to rebrand – "taking the IBM route" – and reshuffle senior management had been in the works for about a year and changes were finalized in recent weeks. He explained that he bought out Helper’s 50% stake in the firm to take full ownership.

"The name change really reinforces what we’re being called by everyone anyway, and we just wanted to put a stamp on it so that it’s official," Bender said. "Part of that involves restructuring, which allows you to revise how you do business."

Helper and Bender founded the agency in 1986. Since then, the firm has settled into what Bender called the "sweet spot" at the intersection of entertainment and technology. Its roster of clients includes HBO, DC Entertainment, CBS, and digital entertainment company Square Enix. In the last six months, the firm has also acquired high-profile accounts from Fandango, Rovio Entertainment and Warner Bros. Consumer Products. 

"Both those areas (technology and entertainment) change radically from year to year," Bender said. "But whatever changes or direction entertainment consumption is going, we as an agency want to be at the forefront of that."

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