NEW YORK: Cohn & Wolfe has hired Tom Reno as its first standalone COO.
In this role, Reno is tasked with overseeing IT, HR, legal, and real estate functions as well as the operations side of acquisitions. Based in New York City, he reports to CEO Donna Imperato. He started at the WPP firm on September 5.
"We want to make sure the operations and infrastructure in place were supporting growth, especially as we have an expanded global footprint," Reno said.
On target for its fourth year of double-digit growth, C&W hired Reno to maximise the use of its talent, he said, emphasizing the importance of hiring as the agency continues its pivot to an integrated marketing shop.
Reno said the agency’s search for an acquisition target also influenced the decision to create the role of COO. "It’s so important to get the acquisition right and bring in as many people with experience in M&A as possible - and I will be involved. It’s part of our business strategy," he added.
Imperato previously said an acquisition would bolster C&W's drive toward integration, adding the agency would have to have tech chops and revenue no less than $5 million. However, WPP’s overall PR and public affairs division, which also includes Ogilvy, Burson-Marsteller, and Hill+Knowlton Strategies, reported slowed growth for the second quarter of 2017.
Reno most recently served as COO and CFO of 42West, an entertainment PR firm, for eight years. Over the course of his tenure, the agency saw a 46% growth in organic revenue, which also came from expanded services. He played a key role in its March-April $28 million sale to Dolphin Digital Media, a film and digital content company.
A position at Dolphin had been offered to Reno after the deal, but he declined, saying his "mission was accomplished." 42West was also implicated in the Fyre Festival controversy, but he said that didn’t influence his decision to leave the company.
Reno served at two other WPP agencies prior to joining 42West. He was EVP and corporate practice leader of Ogilvy PR for a short stint, and EVP and GM of New York at H+K. He held senior roles on accounts for Capgemini, Deloitte, and LexisNexis.
C&W’s London corporate practice won a global brief with Cambridge International Examinations after hiring a director from the incumbent, Edelman.