NEW YORK: Rich Jernstedt, chairman of Golin/Harris and the firm's former CEO, has been hired by Fleishman-Hillard as an EVP and senior partner, based in the firm's Chicago office. He will join Fleishman on July 1.
Golin recently lost its Visa USA account to Fleishman, but Jernstedt said his change of jobs was not related to that. "I was never that actively engaged in the Visa business at Golin/Harris," he said.
Jernstedt, 57, said the opportunity to work for a larger agency on new business development and client services was what convinced him to make the move. Jernstedt said he didn't feel pushed aside at Golin when he relinquished the CEO title last July after 12 years.
Asked how the Fleishman job arose, Jernstedt said: "I've been approached by Fleishman-Hillard over the years and the opportunity developed. It just seemed too perfect to pass up. The chance at something new in this point of my career was very exciting."
Fleishman chairman John Graham said that he and Jernstedt started talking roughly six months ago about Jernstedt joining Fleishman. "Rich and I have been friends for some time, friendly competitors," Graham said. "I've always had a lot of respect for him, he's been a terrific competitor."
Jernstedt spent 26 years at Golin, and in recent years had led the charge to expand its international network as the agency sought to solidify its position as a major brand within the IPG portfolio of agencies. When he was moved into the chairman position, Fred Cook was named CEO. Cook, himself an 18-year Golin veteran, was named president of the agency in September 2002.
Jernstedt's Fleishman duties will include providing senior counsel to the firm's new-business development efforts, with a focus on consumer marketing.
"We expect him to be a resource for every office around the world," Graham said.
Jernstedt will work with Jack Modzelewski, Fleishman's senior partner and president for client relations. Cynthia Hardie, SVP, remains in charge of the Fleishman's Chicago office, Graham said.
Al Golin will reassume the chairman's title at Golin. He had handed that title to Jernstedt last year.
Before joining Golin/Harris, Jernstedt spent five years in corporate marketing communications with the Container Corporation of America.
Cook said that the departure was "amicable."
"It?s a good opportunity for Rich, and we wish him the best,? Cook said.