NEW YORK: Omnicom Public Relations Group has hired former Publicis executive Erin Lanuti as chief innovation officer.
Lanuti started in the newly created position on September 5, based in New York and reporting to Omnicom PR Group CEO Karen van Bergen.
Lanuti does not have direct reports, but will work with the holding company’s agencies to build influencer marketing, media relations, social media, content marketing, creative, SEO and ecommerce offerings.
"PR has always been my passion," Lanuti said. "I started in the PR industry, and I have spent the last many, many years working on initiatives that linked PR to commerce, so to me, it made a ton of sense to go back to the PR space."
Lanuti said the position offers a chance to demonstrate, to both agencies and in-house comms and marketing teams, the power of PR.
"Over the course of years, I have spent a lot of time focusing my efforts on showing how PR drives business impact. The truth is, PR almost always outperforms [other marketing disciplines], and to me [the lack of recognition] has always been a frustration," she said. "OPRG is really in a unique position to change that based on the scale it has in the industry coupled with its deep data, media and commerce precision offering."
Van Bergen said the chief innovation officer role "is meant to chart a new course to drive innovation and product offerings to accelerate growth for ourselves and our clients."
"The communications industry has been lagging other industries in its use of data and technology. I truly believe the time is now to propel communications into areas like commerce, precision marketing and direct-to-consumer,’ said van Bergen, via email. "Underpinning all of our work must be a rigorous, data-driven approach to measurement; we can no longer rely upon soft, inaccurate metrics to show our success."
Lanuti has worked at Publicis marketing and advertising firm Performics, where she was global performance solutions officer, and at MSL, where she was chief influence strategist and global lead for conversation2commerce.
Publicis did not return requests seeking comment on Lanuti’s departure.
Other executives have moved between MSL and Omnicom PR agencies in the past year. Rema Vasan, former EVP and global lead for Procter & Gamble and MSL Fluency, left the agency to join Marina Maher Communications in June. Last October, Publicis named Diana Littman as CEO of MSL U.S. after an 11-year stint at Marina Maher Communications, including as chief integration officer.
Omnicom’s PR agencies posted a 1.3% organic revenue decline in Q2 to $349.3 million, as well as an 0.9% drop to $683.4 million for the first six months of the year.
This story was updated on September 11 with comment from van Bergen.