SAN FRANCISCO: Susan Butenhoff, CEO of Access Brand Communications, is set to leave the agency on February 1.
Upon Butenhoff’s exit from the Ketchum subsidiary, Access New York GM Bob Osmond and partner and president Matthew Afflixio will absorb her responsibilities, said Butenhoff.
Osmond leads growth and client services from the firm’s New York office and Afflixio is responsible for driving growth, culture, and quality of agency services across all of Access’ offices, which include London, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
Ketchum CEO Barri Rafferty said in a statement that Afflixio will lead the agency with Osmond and London office leader Amanda Moulson on his leadership team.
"We are appreciative of [Butenhoff’s] dedicated service to Access and Ketchum and wish her well in her next chapter," Rafferty said, via email. "We have been fortunate to learn from her throughout the last decade, and she will be missed."
Butenhoff founded Access Communications in 1991, and it was acquired by Ketchum in 2008. Access Emanate was formed by a merger of Ketchum agency Access and DAS Holdings agency Emanate in 2016; last June, Access Emanate rebranded as Access Brand Communications.
"I am not retiring; I am taking a break," said Butenhoff. "I want to explore something else, maybe work client-side, which I have never done."
As CEO, Butenhoff was involved with significant account work, she told PRWeek. She headed the Blue Diamond account and also worked with several tech clients. Upon her departure, she said she will be a "phone call away" if needed.
Butenhoff explained that she started Access in the early 1990s with the concept that tech would be a game changer in both business and lifestyle.
"That prediction proved incredibly powerful and helped me grow an agency I am proud of," she said. "We have been able to work with market leaders and innovators like Apple, Adobe, and Google as well as consumer innovators like Safeway and Blue Diamond."
Butenhoff started her career at Ketchum, rising to become a VP in charge of the firm’s San Francisco consumer marketing group. She left Ketchum in 1991 to start her own firm.
"We are appreciative of [Butenhoff's] dedicated service to Access and Ketchum and wish her well in her next chapter," said Ketchum president and CEO Barri Rafferty. "We have been fortunate to learn from her throughout the last decade, and she will be missed."
This story was updated on January 26 with comment from Rafferty.