19. John Saunders, FleishmanHillard

Like many large global firms, Fleishman was looking forward to a positive 2020 following a promising start to the year, but CEO John Saunders' best-laid plans were stymied by the coronavirus health crisis.

19. John Saunders, FleishmanHillard

Pre-pandemic, 2020 was shaping up to be a year that FleishmanHillard would hit its stride under CEO John Saunders after an up-and-down 2019 in which the Omnicom Group firm won major clients such as Cisco and the U.S. Army but parted ways with Monsanto.

Work on the Army account as part of an Omnicom mixed-agency team truly only got underway in fall 2019. Saunders has described the Chicago-based contract as “a big deal on many levels.”  

The firm was also set to get an even-year boost from GMMB, the political strategy and media buying firm that works with many big-name Democratic Party candidates. The firm got a major vote of confidence in June when the Biden presidential campaign eschewed Hawkfish, the much ballyhooed digital shop tied to former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and instead tapped GMMB for digital ad placement. 

Fleishman’s best performing office of 2019 is also getting reinforcements, with the firm’s San Francisco location absorbing the Bay Area staff and client roster of struggling Porter Novelli after a year in which it won accounts from Cisco and Dropbox. 

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