Ray Kerins joins Next Security Group as CEO

Kerins is a veteran of Bayer, Merck and Pfizer.

Ray Kerins joins Next Security Group as CEO

NEW YORK: The Next Security Group has hired comms industry veteran Ray Kerins as CEO.

Kerins is set to step into the role on November 1, reporting to Bob Pearson, chairman of NextSec parent company The Next Practices Group. Kerins will be based at the company’s New York City office.

NextSec’s previous CEO was Chris Wilder, who exited the company in early summer, Pearson said.

NextSec launched in October 2020 and focuses on public affairs and all forms of security, ranging from cybersecurity to physical protection to new models in how to protect corporations. Kerins is joining as NextSec prepares to launch a series of offerings from anti-counterfeiting to an intelligence and listening platform for the private sector, Pearson explained.

“My job is to support [Kerins] and partner with him on how to build NextSec,” Pearson said.

Kerins explained that cybersecurity threats and real-world security challenges are growing for companies and organizations.

“The opportunity here is to put together an organization that encompasses not just a security apparatus, but also a public affairs arm, because the ability to meet this challenge head-on will come through a public-private engagement,” said Kerins.

He added that bringing those elements together “creates a stronger offering for when we go out into the world to find these bad actors and protect and see what we can do about bringing them to justice.”

Pearson, W2O Group’s former chief innovation officer, founded the Next Practices Group in July 2020. The group has 115 people working across its entire network. Along with NextSec, The Next Practices Group is composed of leaders from The Bliss Group, The Next Practice, Brain+Trust Partners, CHANGEx, Ringer Sciences, Rocket Sauce Media Labs and Victory CTO.

In June, Kerins left his role as Bayer’s SVP and head of U.S. corporate affairs. He was in the role for the past eight years, managing all communications, government relations and policy for the company's main businesses: agricultural, consumer and pharmaceuticals. Kerins was also a member of the U.S. country leadership team and the Bayer global leadership council. Additionally, he oversaw the Bayer U.S. foundation and was chairman of Bayer’s political action committee. He was the executive sponsor for Bayer’s veteran employee resource group BRAVE (Bayer Resources for Armed Forces Veteran & Employees).

Around the same time as Kerins’ departure, Bayer restructured its U.S. corporate affairs group, separating communications from public affairs.

Prior to Bayer, Kerins was VP of external affairs and worldwide communications for Pfizer; and executive director of public affairs for Merck & Co.

“When I was looking at what is the future of public affairs and security and how does it come together, [Kerins] background is perfect for that,” said Pearson. “He knows the media inside and out, he is good at public affairs and he has always been about security.”

Kerins has appeared on PRWeek’s Power List several times, most recently in 2019.

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