NEW YORK: The PR Council has selected MSLGroup chief client officer Renee Wilson to succeed Kathy Cripps as president, effective mid-January.
A committee of PR Council board members led a six-month search to find a replacement for Cripps, who has served as the association’s president since 2002.
Wilson will step down from her position as MSLGroup’s chief client officer later this month to take on the role, said Michael Echter, the agency’s global director of corporate communications and marketing.
She has worked at MSLGroup since 2004 in various roles, initially joining as an SVP and moving up in 2012 to lead the firm in North America as its president and becoming a member of its global management board. Wilson stepped into the chief client officer role in early 2014.
Wilson noted that Cripps has built a "tremendous foundation" for the Council, which she hopes to build on to help take the industry to the next level.
"PR firms have been getting a seat at the table now for a while, however, it is really a moment in time for PR to take on even more of a leadership role in the communications mix," Wilson said. "I am very excited because I have been quite active in the industry and I feel very passionately about PR and what PR firms in the US can do."
She added that it is too soon for her to talk about her priorities as the group’s new president.
Asked about her time at MSLGroup, Wilson said, "It has been a great experience."
MSLGroup CEO Guillaume Herbette thanked Wilson for her work and wished her continued success in her new role.
"Renee Wilson has brought to MSLGroup a steady hand in turbulent times, thoughtful leadership, and integrity," he said, via email. "She has served and developed some of our largest clients and initiated our transformation in North America from a public relations agency to a communications engagement company with a contemporary vision."
Herbette added that, as a member and strong supporter of the PR Council, MSLGroup looks forward to partnering with Wilson in her role there.
Wilson is departing MSLGroup as parent Publicis Groupe restructures into four "solutions hubs" including Publicis Communications, which will house MSLGroup, as well as Publicis Media, Publicis Sapient, and Publicis Healthcare. The changes are effective January 2.
Prior to MSLGroup, Wilson worked for eight years at Hill & Knowlton. Her final role at the firm, between 2002 and 2004, was as director of its marketing communications practice, according to her LinkedIn account.
Wilson also served twice on the PR jury for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, including as its president in 2014.
This story was updated on December 4 with comment from Wilson.