Verakis hired to head PR at Cramer-Krasselt

CHICAGO: Cramer-Krasselt has chosen Dan Verakis as SVP and director of public relations in its Chicago office, following a competitive one-year long search process.

CHICAGO: Cramer-Krasselt has chosen Dan Verakis as SVP and director of public relations in its Chicago office, following a competitive one-year long search process.

Verakis replaces Rob Merritt, who left the independent marketing and communications agency last summer. He will manage a PR department of nearly 30 people and report to EVP/COO and general manager Karen Seamen. Cramer-Krasselt has annual billings of almost $1 billion.

After reviewing many candidates over the last 12 months, Cramer-Krasselt selected Verakis because of his “breadth of experience” in the corporate and communications world, said Peter Krivkovich, president and CEO of the agency.

Verakis has been running his own consultancy firm since 2007, Verakis Associates, working for clients such as Kraft Foods, ACCO Brands Corporation and University of Chicago. He worked in public affairs at Monsanto Company from 1996-2000, and corporate communications at Whirlpool Corporation from 2003-2006. He also worked at PR agencies Gagen MacDonald and Grossman Group.

Krivkovich said: “Most disciplines, whether it is advertising, digital, or PR, have grown up isolated from each other for years, yet we're in a world where it's a business of communications - not just PR or advertising or digital. We looked for someone who's had exposure to the strategic processing of a company, has reported to a CMO, or has a marketing degree, so they can appreciate and understand everything that's going on in all of the communications assets.”

Verakis will run all PR operations in the Chicago office and help attract new clients. Cramer-Krasselt's PR clients include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, SCA Tissue, Kohl's, Magellan Health Services, and Meritage Homes, as well as integrated accounts such as AirTran Airways, Benihana, and Bissell.

“Because of social media, consumers are looking to understand who the company is, not just what they make or do, so that offers a lot of PR opportunities and we have to be counseling clients to develop that mindset and distinguish them among their peers,” he added. “I'm going to look at how we can become more integrated across the other groups in the company and how we'll package that up for clients.”

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