MullenLowe PR head Sheila Leyne to exit after 20 years

Kelly Burke, Kalley Jolly and Erica Samadani will run the group.

Sheila Leyne
Sheila Leyne

BOSTON: The head of MullenLowe Public Relations, Sheila Leyne, is leaving the agency at the end of September. 

Leyne is set to exit her role as managing partner, EVP and director of PR to spend more time with her daughter, who is entering seventh grade.

Three senior leaders have been selected to run MullenLowe PR once she departs: Kelly Burke will lead Boston’s PR business, focusing on general management, revenue growth and elevating the company’s PR offering; Kalley Jolly will oversee talent and professional development, new business growth and MullenLowe PR’s New York clients and team; and Erica Samadani will continue to lead the MullenLowe PR Los Angeles office with responsibility for agency communications and thought leadership, as well as developing and implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives throughout the network. 

L-R: Erica Samadani, Kelly Burke, Kalley Jolly

Burke, Jolly and Samadani will report to MullenLowe U.S. CEO Lee Newman.

Leyne said that her plan was always to step down when her daughter was in middle school.

“I am going to take some time off to get my daughter settled into school, but I am sure I will have my hands in something soon,” she said. 

Leyne presided over MullenLowe Public Relations for more than 20 years and the group tripled in size during the course of her leadership. Reflecting on her time at the firm, she noted that she got to build an “amazing team” and added that MullenLowe Public Relations has the “best leadership bench.”

“We worked hard over the last many years to build a significant business that has standalone clients and integrated clients; 60% of the business is standalone,” she said. “I am really proud of that.”

MullenLowe PR is the U.S. PR arm of MullenLowe Group. The team collaborates with MullenLowe and serves as a standalone public relations group working with a range of clients, including Capital One, JetBlue and PepsiCo Beverages North America. The group recently landed work for Providence, Pearson Education and SimpliSafe

Leyne explained that three people have been chosen to lead MullenLowe PR to fuel cross-office collaboration.

“We have put a lot of thought into the three different roles by office and areas of focus,” said Burke. “Together, the sum of our parts will be greater than the whole.”

Burke added that while she hates to see Leyne go, the new leaders are “well-positioned to write this new chapter of a growth story for our group.”

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