Michael O'Brien named chief client officer at Ketchum

He was most recently director of client development for North America.

Michael O'Brien
Michael O'Brien

WASHINGTON: Ketchum has named Michael O’Brien chief client officer, succeeding Jerry Olszewski.

Olszewski, who had been working in the dual role of chief client offer and MD of Ketchum’s Washington, D.C., office on an interim basis, will continue in the latter position in a permanent role.

"The [chief client officer] role and leadership of our Washington office are two high-priority jobs at Ketchum," said CEO Rob Flaherty, via email, when asked about the shift. "Each one requires an all-in commitment, and we’re very fortunate to have the right leaders available at the right moment."

Ketchum formalized the chief client officer role in 2008 when Olszewski took on the position and began installing client officers on a regional basis. O’Brien said Ketchum has client officers in Asia and Europe, as well as regional officers in the U.S.

O’Brien was most recently director of client development for North America and a member of Ketchum’s global leadership council.

O’Brien’s responsibilities include "client satisfaction, growth, and retention," the firm said in a statement, as well as leading client directors globally. His appointment is effective immediately.

Olszewski had served as both chief client officer and MD of the D.C. office since last September. Olszewski had served as chief client officer since 2008.

The firm said the Washington office has a "rich new business pipeline" in a statement.  

Olszewski has worked at Ketchum since 1980, when he joined its office in the nation’s capital. Since then, he has worked in the firm’s Munich and London offices. In London, he oversaw operations in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

O’Brien began his first stint at Ketchum in 1997, leading the New York brand marketing practice before departing for Cohn & Wolfe as head of its global brand practice and president of the New York office. He returned to Ketchum as EVP and director of New York client service in 2009 and was promoted to director of client development for North America three years later.

This story was updated on November 1 with comment from Flaherty.

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