Bryan Specht to exit ICF Next in January

His is planning to advise emerging companies and explore long-term ventures next year.

Bryan Specht, set to exit ICF Next at the start of next year.
Bryan Specht, set to exit ICF Next at the start of next year.

CHICAGO: ICF Next managing partner and chief growth and innovation officer Bryan Specht is set to exit the firm at the start of next year. 

His last day at the agency is scheduled for January 3, 2020. Specht will not be replaced in the role, a source familiar with the matter told PRWeek.

"After 12 years, three owners, six brands, piles of awards and amazing memories with many brilliant, quirky able challengers, the time has come for a change," Specht wrote on LinkedIn. "I will be moving on from ICF Next at the beginning of 2020."

His is planning to advise emerging companies and explore long-term ventures next year, he wrote.

"The transformation happening in our industry offers many opportunities for reinvention and innovation," added Specht. "I’m looking forward to new ways of helping influence that transformation."

While Specht's exact role will not be replaced, Kris Tremaine, chief transformation and operations officer, will lead ICF Next's overall growth efforts, among her other responsibilities.

"Over the last 12 years, Bryan has made a lasting and positive impact on our company, helping to both build our award-winning creative engagement capabilities and to create and launch the ICF Next brand," ICF Next president John Armstrong said in an emailed statement. "We are grateful for his many contributions and wish him only the best in the next phase of his career."

Asked if there will be more changes at ICF Next, Armstrong said via email that the agency has realized there are opportunities to better position it to "deliver on its promise, both in terms of how we deliver for clients and how we continue our transformative growth."

ICF Next was created last December via the combination of Olson Engage, Olson Digital, Olson1to1, PulsePoint Group, the Future Customer, We Are Vista and other shops. In January, it promoted Specht to his current role from president of Olson Engage.

Specht has led business development, marketing and communication strategies at the group level and promoted the ICF Next brand to consultants, analysts, potential clients and prospective talent.

"I am very proud of the work we did launching ICF Next, bringing together 10 separate businesses into one next generation consulting agency," Specht wrote on LinkedIn. "We’ve already seen some benefits, delivering success and momentum together."

Specht served as president of Olson Engage from 2012 to 2017 before his role was expanded to lead Olson. Before that, he was COO of Olson Engage, known previously as Dig Communications, until 2012.

"I wish the team at ICF Next nothing but the best and I know they are going to be even more successful than they have already been," Specht told PRWeek. "It’s a very positive, amicable separation."

Specht has been a PRWeek Power List honoree several times, most recently in 2018.

Last year, ICF Next’s revenue in the U.S. was down from 2017 by about 3% to $197.4 million. Globally it was up 8% to $248.6 million, according to PRWeek’s Agency Business Report

This story was updated on December 16 with additional information and quotes from Armstrong.

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