Burson Cohn & Wolfe hires A.J. Jones as U.S. corporate, financial leader

Jones is set to start in the position on May 7.

NEW YORK: Burson Cohn & Wolfe has hired A.J. Jones as U.S. corporate and financial practice leader.

Based in Washington D.C. and New York, Jones is set to start in the job on May 7. He will report to Chris Foster, president of North America.

Jones will also serve as a member of BCW’s U.S. leadership team. Foster declined to list the group’s other members, saying it’s a "work in progress" with roles to be filled.

Jones’s new role was most recently held by Alan Sexton, who exited the agency for the role of VP and head of strategy for global comms at Prudential Financial.

Tasked with growing the practice in the U.S., Jones highlighted three trends in the financial and corporate spaces: the integration of agency specialties; diversified talent across regions; and a greater emphasis on efficiency.

"More and more, we’re trying to tear down the silos from IR to corporate reputation to public policy issues to social impact, and more and more people are looking at how to bring these things together to tell one message," Jones said.

WPP formed Burson Cohn & Wolfe two months ago by merging Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe, creating an entity with a headcount of more than 4,000 staffers in 42 countries. Former C&W chief Donna Imperato was appointed CEO, and her counterpart at Burson, Don Baer, was named chairman. Foster was appointed BCW president for North America in early March.

Jones most recently worked at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation as chief of staff to president and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron. He also served as senior policy adviser and chief policy and communications officer since joining the NGO in 2015. Prior, Jones was head of worldwide government affairs at biotech company Gilead Sciences.

Jones also previously served as health practice chair, financial services practice leader, and principal at the Podesta Group. His portfolio included Google, General Motors, Credit Suisse, Gilead Sciences, and Novartis. Prior, Jones was policy director for former House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC).

"What I’m seeing in the market is that many corporate CEOs are becoming more involved in shaping and driving public policy," Foster said. "Corporations are asked to take public stances, and that’s a role private enterprises play. A.J. comes to the role with all the depth we need."

Burson Cohn & Wolfe is the third-largest PR firm in the world in terms of revenue, according to the 2018 edition of PRWeek’s Agency Business Report, with estimated revenue of $691 million.

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