Capozzi, Hass take on new roles after creation of PRCC

PARIS: Lou Capozzi, chairman and CEO of MS&L since 1997, has ascended to a position overseeing all PR operations for the Publicis Groupe. Mark Hass, an MS&L regional president who has been overseeing much of the Midwest region for the agency, has stepped

PARIS: Lou Capozzi, chairman and CEO of MS&L since 1997, has ascended to a position overseeing all PR operations for the Publicis Groupe. Mark Hass, an MS&L regional president who has been overseeing much of the Midwest region for the agency, has stepped

The moves were spurred by Publicis' formation last week of umbrella group Publicis Public Relations & Corporate Communications Group (PRCC), which aims to unify the company's global PR and corporate communications capabilities.

Capozzi, who is now chairman of the PRCC, said that the primary reasons for Publicis' reorganization were the company's recognition that its PR offering should be distinct from advertising, as well as an anticipation of growth from its PR agencies. He called it "a very strong affirmation of our firm, of our business, and of the public relations profession."

The PRCC will initially encompass MS&L and Publicis Consultants.

"Our first job will be to audit all the PR operations of the Publicis Groupe," Capozzi said. After the audit, Publicis will decide what other portions of its PR business to move into the PRCC.

The newly created group will function as a part of Publicis' Specialized Agencies and Marketing Services (SAMS) organization, and Capozzi will report to SAMS CEO John Farrell. Publicis has a healthcare group inside SAMS that operates in the same way the PRCC will, as well as a similar media group that is not in SAMS.

"Certainly the intention of this group's creation [is] to bring all the PR resources, wherever they are in the group, into this organization, and that would increase the size of SAMS," said Capozzi. He declined to speculate on how PRCC's eventual composition could affect Publicis Dialog, which offers PR and other marketing communication services. Dialog's New York CEO, Debbie Yount, didn't return a call seeking comment.

Hass, a former journalist who founded his own PR firm in 1994 that merged with MS&L in 2002, said he will spend his first couple months at his new job researching his agency's position and capabilities. "You spend the first couple of months in 'receive' mode, rather than 'broadcast' mode," he said.

He added that "MS&L, as the group's lead brand, should be a disproportionate beneficiary" of the PRCC.

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