MILWAUKEE: Fleishman-Hillard is closing its Milwaukee outpost and transferring three key staffers to Chicago.
MILWAUKEE: Fleishman-Hillard is closing its Milwaukee outpost and
transferring three key staffers to Chicago.
Robert McEwen, SVP and GM of the Chicago office, emphasized that the
move doesn’t reflect problems in the Milwaukee market or with the firm’s
business in the region. Rather, he claimed that the agency feels it can
better serve clients using the full range of resources it boasts in
’The driving factor is client service,’ McEwen said.
Milwaukee SVP Rae Ann Johnson has been wearing several hats of late,
maintaining residences in Milwaukee and Chicago. In addition to
overseeing Milwaukee operations, she is also director of the firm’s
She began a new business push in Milwaukee 15 months ago that brought in
clients such as Harley-Davidson.
’Rae Ann and her team have done a tremendous job of opening that
territory for Fleishman,’ McEwen said. The firm, whose Milwaukee office
recorded PR fees of roughly dollars 1.5 million last year, also
represents other area stalwarts such as Johnson Controls and Briggs &
Others in the Milwaukee PR world were surprised by Fleishman’s
desertion, but stressed that the market is a healthy one. The Milwaukee
office of Wisconsin PR powerhouse Morgan & Myers, for example, saw a 47%
fee increase this year to an estimated dollars 1.7 million, according to
president Linda Wenck.
Still, despite the growth, the market may not be attractive to large
multinational PR firms searching for major corporate business. ’I don’t
think Milwaukee has ever been characterized as a town that has lots of
large corporate accounts,’ Wenck conceded.
Harry Cherkinian, president of the local PRSA chapter, said firms are
often being hired on a project-by-project basis than on retainer. This
atmosphere, he believes, has spurred the creation of more small PR firms
in the city. While Cherkinian would not comment specifically about
Fleishman (he worked in the firm’s Milwaukee office until February, when
he left to found Cherkinian & Company), he pointed to healthcare and
manufacturing as potential growth areas.
Moving with Johnson to Fleishman’s Chicago office are managing
supervisor Wendy Greenfield and AE Jody Jucken. The agency’s Chicago
office is on pace to record fee growth between 25% and 30% this year,
not including the Milwaukee additions.