NEW YORK: FleishmanHillard has appointed Stefan Gerard as its global strategic innovation lead, based in New York, the firm said Tuesday morning.
He will also lead the New York office’s brand marketing group in the role, reporting to Bob Winslow, MD of global technology, practice groups, and new product development.
Since joining the Omnicom Group firm in 2010, Gerard has served as SVP and senior partner, helping to lead its strategic integration practice in the Americas. In his new role, he will work to develop and manage structure and strategy for Fleishman’s large clients and oversee the integration of creative and planning at the firm, according to a Fleishman statement.
"You have all these different parts of the puzzle, and bringing them together into a cohesive role is what the job of strategic integration is," he said, describing Fleishman’s various marketing capabilities. He called comms "the connective tissue between the marketing and communications [disciplines]."
Previously, Gerard was the president and co-founder of Gen Art, a nonprofit brand engagement shop that shuttered in 2010 due to economic conditions. Before it folded, the firm had worked to showcase young and up-and-coming talent. Eighty percent of its revenue came from corporate sponsorships, according to The New York Times.
He has also served as VP of brand planning at Deutsch Los Angeles from 2002 to 2005, according to his LinkedIn profile, and held roles at iFUSE and Y&R New York.
"The lesson from anytime you go through a challenging time is how do you know what is essential to an organization and what is not. Crises always force you to make decisions you otherwise might not make, and you learn a lot about what are sacred cows and what are essential," Gerard explained. "If you’re going to remake any industry, you have to make some tough decisions, and you have to believe in your vision and move forward with it."
Gerard is replacing fellow ad industry veteran John McNeel as global strategic integration lead at Fleishman. McNeel, who previously worked at TBWA and Saatchi & Saatchi before joining Fleishman in 2012, is now serving as chief executive of cause marketing firm In/Pact.