FleishmanHillard names Marjorie Benzkofer chief strategy officer

Former global MD of reputation management practice wants to drive initiatives that create a more unified workforce within the agency.

CHICAGO: FleishmanHillard has named Marjorie Benzkofer to the newly created role of chief strategy officer. She officially starts in the position Tuesday.

Benzkofer is based in Chicago and reports to Lisa Moehlenkamp, Fleishman’s chief talent officer and chief of staff.

"The position is less about direct reports," Benzkofer said, explaining her remit, "and more about creating more collaboration across the different leadership areas of the firm, which includes our cabinet, our growth strategy leaders, our office general managers, our finance team and our talent development team."

Benzkofer said the appointment is a formalization of work she had been doing for at least a year while she was global MD of Fleishman’s reputation management practice. She’ll still lead that practice, while receiving help on some of the day-to-day work in that area from senior leaders.

Though she’s been the de facto strategy leader for some time, Benzkofer said she will be treating the appointment as a starting point for initiatives she wants to drive at Fleishman.

"I’m going to be looking at ensuring we have a nimble and mobile workforce, because the challenges clients are facing today will be different in a month or six months from now," she said. "We need to be sure we’re putting the right talent in the right place where the client needs it, almost on demand. And we have to be offering more sophisticated solutions to the challenges clients are presenting. Their functions aren’t siloed, and ours shouldn’t be either." 

Benzkofer has been at the agency since 1997. Prior to Fleishman, she had been the corporate spokeswoman for Chicago-based utility ComEd. 

In May, Fleishman came under fire from French media and European regulators for work it had done for Bayer subsidiary Monsanto. As a result, Bayer suspended its work with the agency. In May, Fleishman president and CEO John Saunders defended that work in a statement posted to the firm’s website.

According to the PRWeek Agency Business Report 2019, revenue for the agency rose 5% in 2018 to $606.9 million compared to $578 million in 2017.

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