SYDNEY: Burson-Marsteller has hired one of Australia's most powerful lobbyists, John Coates, as non-executive chairman of its Australian operations.
Currently president of the Australian Olympic Committee, Coates was instrumental in Sydney's bid to host the 2000 Games and was a key figure in the running of the event.
Coates, who took up his new role earlier this week, will report to B-M regional president and CEO Bill Rylance. He assumes a high-level counselling role on some of B-M's Australian clients, which include Compaq, Motorola, and SmithKline Beecham.
His appointment is expected to boost B-M's PA business, which accounts for a third of the agency's revenue in the country, according to Rodd Pahl, B-M market leader in Sydney.
'This is no sinecure. John's strength is working with government at the highest level,' said Pahl.
Coates' lobbying experience dates back to 1976, and includes working on unsuccessful Olympic bids by Brisbane (1992) and Melbourne (1996).
B-M US president and CEO Joe Fisher has quit to 'explore other jobs he might take with (parent company) Young and Rubicam', according to B-M president and CEO worldwide Chris Komisarjevsky. He will be replaced by Chet Burchett, who has spent the past two years leading the agency's brand marketing business from Chicago, as well as serving as president/CEO of B-M's Mid-West region.