Ogilvy PR promotes Mathias to North America CEO

NEW YORK: Ogilvy Public Relations has promoted Robert Mathias to regional CEO for North America, effective immediately.

NEW YORK: Ogilvy Public Relations has promoted Robert Mathias to regional CEO for North America, effective immediately.

He will continue to lead Ogilvy Washington, the PR network's largest single office where he serves as president, in a dual role. The North America CEO position has been open at the firm for more than two years.

Meanwhile, Ogilvy West CEO Michael Law is leaving the firm for fellow WPP shop Burson-Marsteller, where he will serve in the newly created role of US president, according to an agency source. Burson has also brought on former Racepoint Group EVP William Orr as EVP in San Francisco. Dave DenHerder is Burson's US CEO.

Mathias will report to Ogilvy PR Global CEO Christopher Graves and Ogilvy & Mather Chairman and CEO for North America John Seifert.

Mathias said the fact that he reports to executives at both Ogilvy PR and Ogilvy & Mather is “absolutely” a sign of greater integration among the network's agencies.

“[PR] is our roots, and that is where we continue to excel, but we are also a vital arm of the Ogilvy & Mather family, and all of us believe in the power of the integrated whole,” he said.

Mathias will work across all of the firm's North American offices and practices, managing client service, talent management, and business performance. He will also collaborate with his senior counterparts at Ogilvy & Mather to optimize the network's assets, the agency said in a press release.

Mathias first joined Ogilvy PR in 1988, leading its San Francisco office and later its Washington office. He also served in the administration of President George HW Bush as executive assistant to the secretary of energy and then deputy assistant secretary of the Energy Department.

The WPP Group PR agency also named Nathan Friedman, now the MD of Ogilvy PR Chicago, regional MD of Ogilvy PR West in an expansion of his duties to oversee operations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, and Sacramento, CA. He will continue to manage the Chicago office until a replacement is named.

Friedman will be responsible for financial, personnel, and client responsibilities at the four offices in the western US.

He joined Ogilvy PR in 1999, and was named MD of the Chicago office a decade later. Friedman has served as a client leader on global accounts such as LG Electronics and was named to the most recent edition of PRWeek's 40 Under 40 list.

He will replace the 22-year Ogilvy veteran Law, who had served as Ogilvy West's leader since 2004. Law previously worked in Ogilvy's Washington office for a decade before serving as president of Ogilvy PR Southeast Asia for four years.

This article was updated on January 24 to reflect that the North American CEO position at Ogilvy is not new, but was unfilled for more than two years.

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