ST. LOUIS, MO: Fleishman-Hillard Chairman John Graham has ceded his presidency and CEO duties to 22-year Fleishman vet David Senay.
Graham, who has led the firm for the last 32 years and has served as chairman for 18 years, will remain chairman and helm the newly-created office of the chairman, which is tasked with identifying strategic opportunities for the firm.
Senay becomes the third CEO in the firm's history, joining Graham and co-founder Bob Hillard. Senay was previously regional president and senior partner, as well as serving as co-chair of the senior management committee. Senay, now responsible for the firm's operations, reports to Graham.
Graham told PRWeek the agency had only looked internally for the next CEO, owing to its strong line of lifetime employees.
Graham cited both his relationship with Senay, and Senay's broad experience on multiple Fleishman disciplines as boons to his ascension.
"David has worked on all aspects of our business, from consumer to corporate to investor relations to public affairs," Graham said. "He has a broad understanding of the business and a strong sense of our culture."
Despite a CEO change being so rare in Fleishman's history, Graham said that the new leadership would continue business as usual, rather than affecting any radical changes.
"It will be business as usual, perhaps on a more intensified basis," Graham said. "Our goal is the same: to do outstanding work for clients and hold our staff in the highest respect."
In other changes, Paul Johnson has assumed the title of vice chairman of worldwide growth and president of public affairs, reporting to Senay. Johnson has been with the company for 21 years, recently serving as GM of the Washington office and regional president for the Mid-Atlantic and Latin America regions. He also co-chairs the senior management committee.
Fleishman-Hillard is a part of Omnicom Group.