Burson-Marsteller appoints pollster Joel Benenson worldwide vice chair

The chief strategist of Hillary Clinton's 2016 White House campaign will continue in his role leading Benenson Strategy Group.

Joel Benenson (Image via Burson-Marsteller).
Joel Benenson (Image via Burson-Marsteller).

NEW YORK: Burson-Marsteller has appointed pollster and political strategist Joel Benenson to the role of worldwide vice chair.

Based in New York, he will continue to lead Benenson Strategy Group, a strategic research consultancy owned by WPP and brought into Burson’s network last May.

Benenson said he will focus on large-scale challenges faced by major clients drawing on his experience working in politics and with corporate clients.

"I can make sure they take the right lessons from politics in terms of this changing environment from a media perspective, the attitudes of consumers and voters, and where they intersect," he said. "I want to make sure they take away the right lessons and not the wrong lessons from the world of politics."

Benenson, the chief strategist on the Hillary for America campaign, also conducted research and polling for President Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 White House runs. He has also worked with clients such as AARP, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Football League, and Procter & Gamble.

Benenson worked with Burson worldwide chair and CEO Don Baer in the administration of President Bill Clinton and on Clinton’s 1996 re-election effort.

Burson has two other worldwide vice chairs: Karen Hughes, a former counselor to President George W. Bush, and worldwide chief client officer Pat Ford. Hughes specializes in crisis and executive comms and strategic messaging, while Ford is focused on corporate reputation management, executive comms, media strategy, and issues and crisis management, according to the firm.

Benenson’s appointment is the latest in a string of high-level moves at the WPP agency. Earlier this week, it upped Mike Fernandez to U.S. CEO from chair of the global corporate and financial practice. He joined the firm in September. Former U.S. CEO Michael Law is moving to the role of worldwide EVP.

A month ago, it named Kevin Bell, previously global public affairs practice chair, as its worldwide president.

"We’re just adding talent and putting it in place where we most need it," said Baer. "We’re bringing in new capabilities to drive even more growth and help us all as we take on all the changes going on in communications and the media sector."

Correction: This article was updated to corect the years of the Obama campaigns Benenson worked on, which were 2008 and 2012.

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