MWWPR names Bret Werner president

Werner is taking over president duties from CEO Michael Kempner one year after joining the firm.

Bret Werner (L) and Michael Kempner
Bret Werner (L) and Michael Kempner

NEW YORK: MWWPR has named Bret Werner president, roughly one year after he was brought on as the firm’s chief client officer.

Michael Kempner is relinquishing his presidential duties and title to Werner, but is staying on as CEO.

Effective immediately, Werner will join Kempner, along with Gina Cherwin, who was promoted to chief people officer and EVP last week, and CFO William Starace to form MWW’s fully integrated executive management team. Cherwin, Werner, and Starace will continue to report to Kempner under the new management structure.

Werner’s duties as chief client officer will be folded into his new role. As president, Werner will share the day-to-day management of MWW with Kempner with a focus on new client service models, advancing the firm’s product offerings, new business, and integration across all offices and practice groups. Every office and practice head will now report into Werner.

"We will continue to diversify offerings and further expand our content and digital experience, which has had strong growth in 2016, and we will continue to integrate these services from corporate to consumer to digital," said Werner of his objectives. "We are seeing a lot of benefits of our clients using a multitude of our offerings at once. That is how we are going to continue to evolve and that is what we are investing in for 2017 and beyond."

Kempner cited the need for a new business management model for the industry, where strategy, culture, client service, operations, and finance work "seamlessly together without walls and artificial boundaries," according to a release.

Kempner explained that he has been looking for someone to take on MWW’s president role for a decade.

"I needed to find someone who understands who we are, our vision, our culture, but also offered a fresh perspective at the same time," said Kempner. "When I met [Werner], I felt in my gut he was going to be the one, and over the last 11 months, he has seamlessly moved into a leadership role where his peers respect him and see him as that leader."

In 2007, Werner cofounded and led Catalyst PR for 10 years. IMG Worldwide acquired Catalyst PR in 2012, but Werner agreed to stay on for another three years during the transition.

Earlier in his career, Werner was a managing partner at Taylor PR, where he worked for 15 years and was one of the firm’s youngest VPs. He was one of PRWeek’s 40 Under 40 honorees in 2011.

MWW will be announcing additional senior hires and promotions over the next few weeks, Kempner said.

"These leadership changes allow [Werner] and I to partner to expand our focus on being a client-centric company and a content-centric company," he added.

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