Rogers & Cowan/PMK shuffles team with post-merger promotions

CEO Mark Owens said a new name and combined P&L are on track to happen early next year.

LOS ANGELES: Rogers & Cowan/PMK has made a series of promotions that largely wrap up the merger of Rogers & Cowan and PMK-BNC that began in July

The Interpublic Group firm has named Melissa Schumer as president of digital entertainment, technology and gaming. It also appointed Cary Kwok as EVP in the same practice; Beth Andrews, EVP of lifestyle; Meilani Weiss, EVP of brand integration and content partnerships; and Genesa Garbarino, EVP of brand strategy and thought leadership.

Schumer, previously an EVP, is overseeing a group of 20 and has six direct reports. Andrews, formerly an SVP, is managing a group of 18 and also has six direct reports. Weiss was also an SVP. She leads 10 people and has three direct reports. Garbarino, also a former SVP, has a team of six and three direct reports.

They all report to Shirley Hughes, who was named president of the combined agency's brand division as part of the merger.  

"We both had a gaming group and we decided to put those together to bring some scale to that business," Hughes said. "We had a small lifestyle team; they had a bigger one. Then there was the brand practice we had and they did not."

The firm last week promoted five other executives to new roles under Alan Nierob, who was named chairman of the merged shop’s entertainment division. At the end of October, the agency also promoted Craig Greiwe to chief strategy and transformation officer.

"What we’re accomplishing here is the blending the Rogers & Cowan and PMK team into one collaborative group," said CEO Mark Owens. "We announced a week ago the promotions under [Nierob’s] leadership that combined the 55 folks publicity in PMK with those in R&C and created a new leadership structure, and this is the next evolution on the [agency’s] brand and marketing side." 

Owens said an even split of Nierob’s and Hughes’ groups are coming from R&C and PMK. Most of the work combining the two shops is done, he added. There were no layoffs as part of the process. 

"Everything from the front of the house has been completed," he said. "I feel very comfortable saying that we did not make any changes where we let anybody go from that process. We’re making sure the great teams we have are only additive."

All of the combined firm’s Los Angeles employees will be located in the same office within a few months — they’re now in the same building on different floors — and two offices in New York are also being combined, he said.

"The only area we have not gotten to is all the stuff under Bill Rosenthal [COO and CFO], on the financial and operations side of things," Owens said. "He’s putting together that structure for the beginning of the year when the two companies are under one P&L."

The firm is also coming up with a new brand that isn’t, he added, a "giant set of initials." The firm is planning an announcement in Q1 2020.

The deal is creating an entertainment-focused firm with more than $94 million in annual combined revenue. Rogers & Cowan chief executive Mark Owens will be CEO of the combined shop, and PMK-BNC chairman and CEO Cindi Berger will serve as chairman of the firm, which will be part of the Octagon Sports and Entertainment Network. Owens and Berger will report to Rick Dudley, chairman and CEO of Octagon Worldwide.

At the end of October, the PR firms within Interpublic Group’s Constituency Management Group, which includes Rogers & Cowan/PMK parent organization Octagon, posted low-single-digit growth in Q3 on both an as-reported and organic basis.

This story was updated on November 22 with quotes from Hughes.

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