Grayling taps MSLGroup's Harris for US CEO role

Grayling has brought on MSLGroup SVP Peter Harris as US CEO, effective at the start of 2014.

NEW YORK: Grayling has brought on MSLGroup SVP Peter Harris as US CEO, effective at the start of next year.

He will be based in New York with oversight of the Huntsworth agency's US network. Harris, who previously served as SVP in MSL's corporate and technology practice and managed its global United Technologies account, will report to Grayling Global CEO Pete Pedersen. Harris will also serve as a member of Grayling's international board of directors, the firm said in a statement.

Prior to joining MSL in 2007, Harris was an SVP at Ketchum, GM of Access Communications' New York office, and partner at Peppercom. He has worked with clients such as IBM, HP, Citibank, Visa, Genentech, and National Grid.

Earlier this year, Huntsworth's five US DutkoGrayling offices were rebranded as Grayling with consolidated operations.

Pedersen was hired to lead Grayling in February after a two-decade career at Edelman that culminated in leadership of the firm's technology practice. He replaced Michael Murphy, who announced his resignation in July 2012, in the role.

In April, Grayling parent company Huntsworth agreed to sell a stake of nearly 20% to China-based BlueFocus in a deal aimed at reducing debt and enabling investment. The holding company's first-half 2013 revenue dropped 0.5% on a like-for-like basis to about $138.3 million, compared with first-half 2012. Grayling saw a like-for-like revenue drop of 7.2% to $62.8 million in the period.

An MSLGroup representative declined to say if the agency has named a full-time replacement for Harris or who is covering his duties in the interim.

“We congratulate Peter Harris on his new position and thank him for his seven years of service to our agency,” the firm said in a statement. “We wish him all the best in his future role.” 

Neither Harris nor Pederson were made available for comment on the appointment.

This story was updated on December 12 with comment from MSLGroup. 

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