Porter Novelli names Jennifer Swint global president amid leadership shuffle

The Omnicom firm has also appointed MDs in four markets.

NEW YORK: Porter Novelli has named Jennifer Swint global president and partner as the firm shakes up its leadership team.

"We used to have multiple regional presidents," said CEO Brad MacAfee. "What we’ve done is look at having a global president in Swint, who is working with all of Porter’s offices on a global basis."

When Swint was named president of North America in 2016, the region was already operating under a single P&L, MacAfee said. Since then, Porter has focused on enabling collaboration within the agency, with Omnicom Public Relations Group, and with the broader Omnicom network, Swint added.

"What we’re not looking for is a traditional model where someone’s goal is building their geographic P&L," Swint said. "We’re not into building offices. We’re into bringing the best talent together in creative ways."

In the new structure, all Porter MDs will report to Swint. MacAfee’s role won’t be affected.

Swint is currently leading Porter’s Washington D.C. office, but the agency is looking for a replacement.

Porter has also named Karen Ovseyevitz as president of its partner group, tasked with running its affiliates, including any offices the agency partners with or partly or fully owns, MacAfee explained. She will also serve as acting MD of San Francisco.

The agency has also appointed Conroy Boxhill as MD of Porter’s Atlanta office. Boxhill most recently ran Gladiator RMS, a reputation management firm he founded in 2017, and was previously EVP of crisis, issues, and reputation management at Edelman. Porter’s most recent Atlanta MD was Alicia Thompson, who is serving as VP of communications at Edible Arrangements.

Porter has also hired Kyle Farnham from Burson Cohn & Wolfe, where he was U.S. practice chair of consumer and brand marketing, to run the New York and Chicago region. Farnham joined Burson-Marsteller in 2017, prior to its merger with fellow WPP shop Cohn & Wolfe.

The agency also appointed Jo Patterson, head of strategic services in London, to co-lead the office with Nicole Yost, who was previously its head of health. Director Jayme McCormick will replace Yost as head of health in London. Prior London office leader Fenella Gray has been named to the newly created position of London chair, continuing to report to MacAfee and driving the "purpose mission" and product offerings in Europe. No other offices have a chair position.

Porter also named Eric Tang as MD of Canada, doubling as the agency’s deputy leader of its global technology practice. Canada was previously co-led by Tang and Maria Antonopoulos, SVP of consumer, Swint said. Antonopoulos will continue to grow the consumer practice across Canada.

This round of leadership changes follows Porter naming Erin Osher MD of Seattle, Strahan Wallis MD of Southern California, and Byron Calamese as MD of Boston. Calamese also leads Porter’s Cone Communications business, which it brought under the Porter umbrella last February. Cone CEO Bill Fleishman left Cone at the start of 2018, according to his LinkedIn account.

Porter’s estimated revenue was down 2% in 2017 to $148.5 million.

Other agencies have also recently streamlined their operations. Fellow Omnicom PR Group agency Ketchum has restructured under a single P&L, dropping practices and organizing around individual sectors. The reorganization came five months into Barri Rafferty’s tenure as CEO.

At WPP, Hill+Knowlton Strategies cut ties with numerous senior executives last August as it shuffled its operations, and Ogillvy also adopted a single P&L across marketing segments for its U.S. business.

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