Halpern hires Good Relations' Mark Schmid as MD

Halpern, the PR agency that is part of global media group The&Partnership, has hired former Good Relations client services director Mark Schmid as its new MD as it looks to move into new countries and expand its offer.

Halpern team: CEO Jenny Halpern Prince and new MD Mark Schmid
Halpern team: CEO Jenny Halpern Prince and new MD Mark Schmid

Schmid replaces Jen Burner, who Halpern said is relocating outside London to spend time with her family after 11 years at the agency.

Before joining Good Relations, Schmid was comms director for TalkTalk Group for more than five years, responsible for corporate comms, issues management, consumer media relations, public affairs and corporate responsibility. Previously he was group head of comms at Carphone Warehouse.

His 15-year agency career includes spells at Citigate Dewe Rogerson and Porter Novelli, and he has worked on international FMCG brands.

Schmid told PRWeek he would look to add new accounts at Halpern in the industries where it already has clients. The agency’s 40-strong client roster includes Unilever, Fitness First, Avon, Five Guys, Aga Rangemaster and UGG.

He also wants to "widen the offer"; for example, by creating a more formal crisis management offer and building the corporate PR function. The latter would not include traditional financial PR, but have a greater focus on business media as the line between corporate and consumer PR blurs.

There are also plans to work closer with other The&Partnership agencies outside of PR. The company’s roster includes ad agency CH&I Partners, media planning consultancy M/Six and social agency The Social Practice.

Halpern opened its New York office in November alongside The&Partnership North America and the London-based agency has previously said it hoped to expand abroad. The&Partnership, which is backed by WPP, already operates across four continents.

On the prospect of further international expansion, Schmid said: "We will assess all the opportunities as they come up."

Schmid added: "Halpern stands out as an agency with a clear sense of direction and strong growth potential."

Jenny Halpern Prince, CEO and founder of Halpern, said: "Mark’s credentials speak for themselves, and he’ll add a valuable skillset to our proposition. His arrival is great timing, as Halpern gears up to take on New York, as well as moving into new areas of specialism at home in London."

She said Burner played "an invaluable role in building Halpern up into a recognised communications player and creating a culture where we have long-term employee commitment and retention".

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