Rasky Baerlein's founders dish on what's next after the split

Rasky Baerlein president Joe Baerlein, principal Ann Carter, and cofounder Larry Rasky discuss the different visions of their respective agencies going forward.

Larry Rasky and Joe Baerlein
Larry Rasky and Joe Baerlein

BOSTON: After the split of Boston agency Rasky Baerlein, the founders each turn their focus to different visions of their respective agencies.

Joe Baerlein, who was bought out of his stake in the agency this week by Larry Rasky, is delving deeper into digital communications and reputation and advocacy work in his new firm Baerlein & Partners.

Baerlein told PRWeek that the importance of digital to the comms business is a major interest of his.

"The last several years I've been privileged to have CEOs and other C-suite members call me into a meeting and not say we need to do this in communications, but present a business problem and ask how to solve it," he explained. "Those types of assignments have been the most rewarding. There are certain types of work and challenges that have more complexity to them that I want to get my arms around."

Rasky, meanwhile, is focused on maintaining the growth and historical strong suit of the agency: its mixture of communications and government relations. The agency has a growing office in Washington, DC. He has renamed the agency Rasky Partners and remains CEO.

"When we started, we were one of the few firms that had a professional highly sophisticated offering on both communications and government relations," Rasky said. "Between [offices in] Boston and Washington, and a mixture of PR and government relations and Democrats and Republicans [on staff], we offer a unique package that has been a successful model that we want to continue."

Ann Carter, former principal at Rasky Baerlein, was also bought out of her stake in the agency. She is also going on to start her own agency, called ACcommunication Partners.

"[Rasky] has an interest in sustaining that agency and that model," Baerlein said. "[Carter] and I are going to do things slightly different for each of us. It’s a really good outcome because the agency itself gets preserved, hopefully it will continue to prosper, and [Carter] and I get to focus on what our interests are."

The three partners had been in talks for roughly one year before deciding on the buyout option. Rasky Partners will maintain its client list and its 50 employees. Baerlein’s new agency currently has about six clients. Carter could not be reached for comment.

Rasky said he hasn’t chosen someone to fill Baerlein’s former position as president, but looks to the "young leaders" at his agency who can step up into the role.

"What I really wanted to do was continue to grow the firm," Rasky said. "We have built a really significant agency together and nobody wanted to see the agency pulled apart. The best way to do that was for me to buy them out, so everybody else could do what interested them."

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