FleishmanHillard ups Cearley to global MD, social and innovation

Cearley was formerly SVP and senior partner of global social strategy and consumer engagement, and led the firm's social practice group in the American South.

Mike Cearley
Mike Cearley

DALLAS: FleishmanHillard has promoted Mike Cearley to global MD, social and innovation.

Cearley was formerly SVP and senior partner of global social strategy and consumer engagement, and led the firm’s social practice group in the American South. He is based in Dallas, Texas.

Now, Cearley is responsible for managing social leaders across FleishmanHillard, coordinating with their help a "global social POV." No one is replacing him in his previous role.

Cearley also leads them in developing relationships with social clients, influencers, and strategic partners, as well as talent acquisition, a statement said. Another key priority includes overseeing the FH Lab, a workshop for creating new social offerings.

"I look at what we do every day simply: solving problems and making stuff," Cearley said. "We work in two parallel paths: one where we try to meet our clients’ needs and another that ties back to innovation where we push, test, and try to stay a foot in front of market demands. The trick is to do both and to do it quickly."

Asked how many social leads he oversees, Cearley said, "More than a handful."

He said the person he reports to is yet to be determined.

When John Saunders was announced CEO in November 2015, Cearley was given the opportunity to serve on the then-newly established leadership cabinet, he said.

Cearley’s predecessor, John Estafanous, departed the company to pursue other opportunities "very recently," Fleishman SVP Chelsey Watts said. Estafanous’ LinkedIn profile states he had been with the company since 2009.

Estafanous held the position of global MD of digital, social, and content. The innovation aspect of the title was added to reflect its expanded dimension, Cearley said.

"It’s not going to be the group solely in charge of innovation, but rather a champion and catalyst for the entire firm," he added. "There will also be hooks into the group whereby we can surface and celebrate the innovation that is happening on the fringes and trying to figure out how we can take and scale that."

Watts explained that Fleishman had an innovation group as recently as 2008 that was led out of St. Louis. Since then, it has been dispersed back into other teams as opposed to one team.

"They were in charge of brainstorms for individual clients; it was really a corporate level of innovation group," she said. "This is an opportunity to task innovation for clients."

Over the course of his career, Cearley has had experience in emerging media, social media, integrated marketing, and storytelling.

While at Fleishman, Cearley led the Chevy social team to three Cannes Lions for its #TechnologyandStuff campaign. He leads on Fleishman Google and GM business, among others. He has worked at Fleishman since 2009.

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