Fred Cook: Power List 2015

CEO, Golin

2015 rank: 25
2014 rank: 40

By Harris Diamond, chairman and CEO, McCann Worldgroup

Fred Cook had a clear vision of what PR should do and how it should do it from his early days as Golin CEO and he’s since impressively revitalized, reshaped, and expanded the agency.

Golin now operates in more than 50 offices around the world and the agency’s reinvigoration was built on Fred’s commitment to innovation and understanding of the family oriented culture Al Golin inspired, allied to a fiercely competitive "nice guys who will kick your ass" attitude.

Unafraid to try different approaches, in 2011 Fred introduced g4, an innovative business model that replaced the firm’s hierarchical generalist structure with four specialist communities. This has been a huge business driver, recently helping the agency win major clients Mountain Dew, Humana, Crayola, Astellas, Mattel’s Barbie and Hot Wheels, Canon, Libbey Glass, and The Patrón Spirits Co.

Fred has been part of Golin for almost 30 years, but his path into the business was unconventional, encompassing spells as a doorman, cabin boy, tour guide, music exec, schoolteacher, and chauffeur for drunks.

And he applies this same philosophy to talent development, recently introducing the Golin Unternship, which pays new recruits for their first three months to go out and collect new experiences and fresh ideas rather than coming into the office. Fred’s readiness to try new approaches in business or life has worked for Golin and is a good model for PR’s future.

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