WASHINGTON, DC: Shandwick’s quest to become the top worldwide PR agency will not be derailed by the ouster of US CEO Michael Petruzzello, Shandwick International CEO Scott Meyer promised last week.
WASHINGTON, DC: Shandwick’s quest to become the top worldwide PR
agency will not be derailed by the ouster of US CEO Michael Petruzzello,
Shandwick International CEO Scott Meyer promised last week.
The decision to ’part ways,’ which clearly took many of the agency’s
staffers as well as Petruzzello himself by surprise, was spurred by
friction over Petruzzello’s role in Shandwick’s newly anointed global
’matrix’ structure (see sidebar).
’The creation of global practices (in public affairs and hi-tech)
reduced the scope of what Michael was running,’ Meyer explained. ’It’s
not traditional, but it is where the business is going in terms of
organization. We are just evolving this new practice. Michael wasn’t
comfortable with it.’
Meyer stressed that a plan launched by Shandwick on October 1, designed
to double the agency’s size within 1,000 days, would not be affected by
the move, and that three major deals - one, according to the Washington
Post, rumored to involve John McCain advisor Mike Murphy’s firm Murphy,
Pintak, Gautier, Hudome - are progressing as planned.
Meyer admitted that he made the decision to part with Petruzzello
personally: ’There was no coup and no friction between Michael and Gerry
Cassidy or Jody Powell or Steve Conafay. None of these people knew of
the decision before it was made.’
And despite Petruzzello’s reputation as a salesman without peer, Meyer
doesn’t think Shandwick will be affected by his departure. ’We have had
no clients, no potential acquisitions and no management calling
expressing concern,’ he stated plainly. ’Our entire executive team
supported the action and, outside of a handful of concerned people in
the Washington office, the announcement was received with almost no
reaction among our employees.’
That statement, however, didn’t gel with reports from within the
’Scott was the visionary, but Mike was doing the deals down on the
ground, and it seemed to work well,’ said one Petruzzello loyalist.
Another suggested that several of Petruzzello’s superiors and fellow
regional CEO-level executives felt threatened by his presence. ’There
was no way Gerry Cassidy was going to continue reporting to Michael,’
Paul Costello, managing director of national media, dismissed such
speculation as ’absurd.’
Petruzzello declined comment. Asked about his future plans, he quipped,
’I’m going to Disney World’ - a vacation, he quickly added, that had
been planned months ago.
- See editorial, p10
SHANDWICK’S NORTH AMERICAN ’MATRIX’
Scott Meyer: CEO, Shandwick International
Michael Murphy: Deputy CEO of Shandwick International, adds oversight
for the agency’s quality of product/client service and industry practice
groups worldwide Tom Tardio: Member of Global Executive Team, CEO of
Shandwick America’s Western Region (LA, Silicon Valley, Seattle,
Boston). Responsibility for tech practice worldwide
Stephen Conafay: Named to Global Executive Team, chief executive of
Shandwick America’s Eastern Region (New York, Baltimore, Minneapolis,
Louisville, St. Louis, Detroit and Houston). Responsibility for
consumer, healthcare, industrial and financial practices worldwide
Gerald Cassidy: Named to Global Executive Team, CEO of Shandwick DC.
Responsibility for gov’t relations/pub affairs practice worldwide.