AUSTIN, TX: Jim Cox, former SVP in the corporate practice at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, has launched his own strategic communications advisory firm called James O. Cox III LLC.
Cox said he is on good terms with his former employer, but felt “they were heading in a different direction then I was” following the firm's late 2010 merger with Public Strategies. He left the agency at the end of last year.
This will be Cox's second time steering his own firm. He sold his first agency, James Cox Inc., to Edelman in 1983. He worked at Edelman for 13 years before joining GCI Group. He left that firm to join Hill & Knowlton in 2000.
When deciding whether to join another firm or go out on his own for a second time, Cox said he didn't want to deal with the strings attached at many large shops.
“Large agencies that are publicly traded have a financial accountability, and that makes them more risk adverse in some cases, which can limit responding to client needs,” Cox said.
His new firm will focus on several issues, including management and corporate reputation. Cox declined to name his three clients at launch, but said one is a manufacturer of products used in commercial real-estate buildings, another is a New York financial services company, and the third is an oil-field supply company based in Houston.
In lieu of hiring his own staff in the near future, Cox said he plans to rely on a network of consultants to create a “virtual team.” He also plans to partner with global firms on international assignments. Cox explained that doing business this way ensures his focus is on clients and not managing a full-time staff.
Over the next year, he said he would like to sign a half-dozen major companies with a global presence.