Chris Daley exits Maroon PR after 12 years to open own shop

Daley was formerly head of business development at Maroon.

COLUMBIA, MD: Chris Daley, longtime director of brand and business development at Maroon PR, is leading to start his own firm. Friday was his last day at the Maryland-based agency.

Daley’s new shop will operate under the name Whirlaway. He is starting with an unnamed project and one AOR client, chef and food evangelist Father Leo Patalinghug. "[Patalinghug] has two entities," Daley said, "a nonprofit called the Table Foundation, which is new, and he has his personal brand, Plating Grace."

"It was an emotional decision because I have been with Maroon PR since the day the company opened," Daley said. "I was more thinking of doing this into my mid-40s, but the window of opportunity seemed to happen right now, and I wanted to jump on the opportunity and get things going."

Daley, who is 39, said his recent engagement spurred the decision. "[My fiance] and I talked about it and thought that over the next year and a half or so would be the window of opportunity to get my feet beneath me before starting to try and have a family," he said.

Maroon founder and CEO John Maroon said he has no plans to replace Daley and will spread his duties to other staffers.

"We’re going to share his responsibilities for business development and branding of the company among other employees and use some business consulting and outside help," sad Maroon.

The transition will be easier, Maroon said, because Daley didn’t do client-service work. "That makes it a lot easier," Maroon said. "None of the accounts are short somebody, and nobody is freaking out."

Maroon said he’ll miss Daley, but knew he’d leave at some point.

"From the day we opened our doors, you know he’s been with us through thick and thin and my reaction initially was I’m going to miss him. I care about him. He’s really an honorable person and a smart PR person," Maroon said. "At the same time I didn’t expect him to retire here. I know he’s got a lot of things going on in his life not too dissimilar to me. I think it’s the next logical step for somebody like Chris."

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