WASHINGTON: Direct Impact has promoted EVP Michael Fleischer to president and GM of the public affairs firm, replacing CEO Connie Partoyan.
Fleischer has been serving as interim leader of the Burson-Marsteller subsidiary since Partoyan’s departure this spring, and he took on the official role of president and GM last week. He is reporting to Helaine Klasky, who joined Burson as U.S. chair of the public affairs and crisis practice in January. He will also be part of Burson’s U.S. leadership team, led by U.S. CEO Mike Fernandez.
"It’s a really fascinating time in the industry and within Direct Impact in particular where we sit at an interesting nexus of having more digital and data analytics tools than we've ever had with the grassroots networks," Fleischer said. "We want to maximize the digital nexus with the grassroots, on-the-ground campaigns to help our clients."
Fleischer has worked at Direct Impact for more than five years as EVP. Previously, he was VP at boutique government relations firm Lighthouse Consulting Group. Fleischer also spent nine years at Widmeyer Communications, ending his tenure there as VP of public affairs. He began his career as an editorial aide at The Washington Post.
"[Fleischer] is a strong strategic counselor who really understands politics, public affairs, grassroots, and grasstops," Fernandez said. "He and his team really translate public policy issues into moving real agendas. They do it through a network that is in every state and every major city and both by traditional means as well as through new technology."
Partoyan departed the firm in April to lead the corporate practice for digital marketing firm Targeted Victory after one year as Direct Impact CEO.