Former Burson, Edelman executive Kenneth Trantowski dead at 69

The Chicago-based executive held roles at major PR agencies over a career of more than four decades.

CHICAGO: Kenneth Trantowski, a former senior executive at several of the world’s largest PR firms, passed away at age 69 on Tuesday, according to a statement from his family.

A specialist in crisis comms and corporate reputation management, Trantowski worked at Burson-Marsteller for 22 years. He joined the WPP firm in 1971 and exited in 1993 as EVP.

Trantowski then served as EVP at Porter Novelli and principal at the Dilenschneider Group. Later, he oversaw the global corporate reputation practice and the Chicago reputation management practice of Edelman as EVP and GM.

In 2001, Trantowski founded his own consultancy, KGT Communications Group, which he led until the end of his career.

Trantowski worked with clients including Ford, General Electric, General Mills, S.C. Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Sara Lee.

Before starting his career in PR, Trantowski was a student at Northern Illinois University, where he was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, the Northern Star. After a clash between law enforcement and student protesters, police issued a subpoena for the newspaper's photo negatives, which Trantowski declined to turn over. He was arrested but quickly released, according to the Northern Star’s website.

Trantowski is survived by his wife of 47 years, Mary, daughters Elizabeth, Rebecca Farrell, and Jessica Abraham, and five grandchildren.

A memorial is scheduled for Friday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Williams-Kampp Funeral Home in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

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