Group chief executive, Brunswick
The number of PR companies headed by women is growing, and Brunswick can now be added to the list. After dedicating 17 years to the firm, Susan Gilchrist was promoted to group chief executive this May during an executive reshuffle, making her the first female to fill this role since the company's inception in 1987.
She relocated to New York in 2010 to become US managing partner after spending several years as senior partner and head of Brunswick's consumer industries practice in the firm's London office.
While in the UK, Gilchrist worked on significant deals for the company, including a bid for Safeway, the banking mega-acquisition of Abbey by Santander, and the Guinness/GrandMet merger. Her clients also included Asda, Kingfisher, Mothercare, and Reckitt Benckiser.
In a global agency whose largest practice lies in financial industries, Gilchrist is a natural fit: her journalism and business expertise, stemming from her time as retail correspondent for UK newspaper The Times and as a management consultant at Bain & Co., gave her a solid launching pad into PR. And this is a great time to be CEO at Brunswick.
In this year's agency business report, Gilchrist would not disclose 2011 financial figures, but said during the past two years global revenues increased 35% with US revenues up 63%. Last year, the agency managed communications on some of the year's most high-profile business transactions, including the announcement by
Kraft Foods that it will create two new independent companies, Microsoft's $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype, and Autonomy's nearly $11.5 billion sale to HP.
New clients include Klout, Groupon, and Dropbox. The firm also represents Facebook on corporate matters, including its recent IPO filing.
After opening offices in Shanghai and Munich, Gilchrist intends to focus on further expansion into markets such as Asia and South America. Gilchrist also currently serves as a governor for London's Southbank Centre, the largest single-run arts center in the world. The board of governors manages Southbank Centre's global operations.