NEW YORK: Paul Hicks, EVP of communications and public policy at the NFL, has joined Glover Park Group as an MD, the firm said Tuesday.
His responsibilities will include growing the sports communications and marketing businesses at the public affairs agency while working in its strategic communications practice, according to a statement from the firm.
"[Hicks’] unique experience will greatly enhance our ability to support the NFL and other sports organizations," Glover Park CEO Chip Smith said in a statement.
Hicks noted in the statement that he will continue to advise the league in his new role. The firm has worked with the NFL for the past six years.
The league will conduct a search for his replacement.
"We appreciate the hard work and guidance that [Hicks] has provided to our office, and we are pleased that we will continue to benefit from his strategic counsel in his new role at GPG," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a memo to league staff.
Hicks told PRWeek that spending five years in the client space was "a hugely valuable learning experience."
It also afforded him the chance to get to know The Glover Park Group’s culture since the NFL and agency have worked together for years, he said.
"They do a minimum of fluff on pitching – they go right to what they believe are solutions to the problem," explained Hicks.
When he starts at The Glover Park Group in October, Hicks said he hopes to maintain its work with the NFL, especially because his time with the league could be "good for the relationship."
No recruiter was involved in his hiring, Hicks confirmed. The role, he added, was "too good to pass up," which is why he decided to leave the NFL.
He is exiting his role at the NFL as the league faces increasing pressure to make the sport safer, especially as scientists continue to explore the link between reported blows to the head during football games and degenerative brain disease.
The first trailer for the Will Smith film Concussion was released on Monday, and the motion picture is expected to draw more attention to the long-term effects of head injuries suffered during football games when it is released at the end of this year.
The NFL is also awaiting a judge’s ruling, expected Tuesday or Wednesday, in the "Deflategate" case against Tom Brady. The Super Bowl winning quarterback was suspended four games after the league investigated accusations that he had knowledge of the intentional deflating of game balls to make them easier to throw, catch, and handle.
Before joining the NFL in 2010, Hicks held various roles at Ogilvy Public Relations, including as CEO of the Americas from 2002 to 2010. He worked at the WPP firm for 14 years. Hicks has also worked as director of public affairs for UST and chief of staff for former Rep. Stewart McKinney (R-CT).
This story was updated on September 1, 2015 with comment from Hicks.