NEW YORK: Cohn & Wolfe corporate practice leader Michael Bayer has left his role after more than two years at the agency.
Bayer is retiring from the PR industry to pursue a career in academia, he said.
“It's something I've wanted to do for years and I'm finally taking the plunge,” Bayer said in an email on Friday.
Jim Joseph, the WPP Group agency's North America president, said the firm was “actively searching for a replacement” to lead its corporate practice.
Bayer joined Cohn & Wolfe as EVP and North American corporate practice director in April 2010, responsible for overseeing strategy, building client relationships, growing new business, and counseling on issues including corporate positioning, stakeholder relations, and crisis management.
Prior to that, he was a senior MD at Financial Dynamics, which was rebranded under FTI Consulting in 2011, for seven years. He also served as a group VP at GCI Group, a VP at Miller Consulting Group, and a VP at Weber Shandwick.
Cohn & Wolfe lost Annie Longsworth, president of the firm's San Francisco office, to Saatchi & Saatchi in January, but replaced her with Anna Cahill Leonard shortly thereafter. It also brought on Jim Joseph in February as its North America president.
WPP specifically praised Cohn & Wolfe for a strong performance in the second quarter when the holding company released its Q2 earnings in August. The firm reported 11% growth in the US and 8.4% overall growth last year, according to PRWeek's 2012 Agency Business Report.