NEW YORK: Ketchum has brought on Golin’s Neera Chaudhary as North American president.
Chaudhary is set to start at Ketchum at the beginning of next month. She will be based in New York and report to global president and CEO Mike Doyle. Chaudhary will also serve as a member of the Omnicom Group agency’s executive team and will lead talent development, client relationships, business growth and operational oversight for Ketchum in North America.
Chaudhary will replace Doyle, who was named North America leader in 2018, when the agency streamlined operations and moved to one P&L. He retained those duties in June after replacing Barri Rafferty as Ketchum’s global president and CEO when she left to join Wells Fargo.
Ketchum began looking for a new North American president shortly after Doyle was promoted last June, he said.
“We wanted to look inside the firm and outside, and I owed it really to everyone involved, me and the executive team, to get someone in the role who was deeply embedded in client business and in an industry [healthcare] we were seeing as a continued growth opportunity and someone who could bring some objectivity to the firm,” said Doyle.
At Golin, Chaudhary was global president of healthcare, a role she had held since 2017, leading the Golin Health and Virgo Health brands and serving as a member of Golin’s global executive board.
In addition to her healthcare experience and leadership skills, Doyle said he was impressed that Chaudhary “was prioritizing the way we work as much as the work we do” when the two were discussing her joining Ketchum.
Chaudhary was attracted to Ketchum’s reputation and its single P&L business model.
“What really sold me was they are organized in an industry structure and coming in as an industry leader where you have sector-based or subject matter based expertise, I’m always a fan of that business model,” she said. “It’s one I got to implement at Golin when I spearheaded the creation of the first ever industry based P&L.”
Chaudhary said the first tasks on her to-do list will be assessing the state of the business at the agency and “meeting as many people as I can at Ketchum.”
Golin is currently searching for Chaudhary’s replacement, said the agency’s CEO Matt Neale.
“[Chaudhary] leaves us with all the very best wishes for this next stage of her career,” he wrote in an emailed statement. “Our healthcare practice is pivotal to Golin’s strategy and our team achieved double digit growth in 2020. We have a deep bench of senior talent to draw upon as we recalibrate and invest in our practice leadership team in North America.”
Prior to Golin, Chaudhary worked in the Cohn & Wolfe healthcare practice and also at Porter Novelli.
In November, Ketchum hired Kat Dare as a practice director for its consumer brands team. And in December, the agency was shortlisted in multiple categories in the PRWeek US Awards, set to be celebrated on March 18.
Revenue for Ketchum dropped 2% in 2019 to $502 million, according to the PRWeek Agency Business Report 2020. And in Q3, PR firms of Omnicom Group saw organic revenue decrease 3.4% in Q3 to $322.8 million in Q3.
At the time, Omnicom CEO John Wren said the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic included travel and entertainment, as well as Omnicom’s events business. In addition to Ketchum, Omnicom owns and operates PR firms FleishmanHillard, Mercury, Porter Novelli and Cone.