Cognito brings on Sean McCarthy as US corporate comms lead

McCarthy joins from TAQA in the UAE.

Sean McCarthy started in the role on October 18.
Sean McCarthy started in the role on October 18.

NEW YORK: Cognito has hired Sean McCarthy as its U.S. EVP of corporate communications. 

McCarthy started in the role on October 18 and is based in Cognito’s New York office. He reports to U.S. president Rowan Benecke. McCarthy will also serve on the agency’s U.S. management team.

The firm hired McCarthy, investing in his newly created role to lead its corporate communications practice, supporting global marketing and growth in the U.S. 

“It's a part of our strategy to build beyond traditional media relations within the financial services space and to pursue agency of record accounts for both corporate communications and digital marketing,” said Benecke.

McCarthy stated his immediate goals include leveraging his experience to serve current clients, increase business and recruit talent. He noted that at Cognito, some of his pressing projects involve today’s active stakeholder capitalism environment.

“Employees are more important than ever; workplace issues are more important than ever; general, overarching, ESG positioning programs are more important than ever,” said McCarthy. “Across our client portfolio, we're seeing a lot of C-suite leaders wanting to get more involved on issues relative to their business and to society.”

He added that as a financial services advisor, also representing Fortune 100 companies, he’ll be working with a range of media outlets, specialty trade publications and business reporters in the leading general media. 

He comes from TAQA, a diversified utilities and energy group that’s one of the largest publicly traded companies listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange. Most recently, McCarthy served as the director of external affairs, following stints as the director of communications and interim CCO. As part of his responsibilities, he oversaw the company’s global comms across 11 countries. In January 2021, Gareth Wynn became TAQA’s chief communications officer, coming from OGUK, an oil and gas industry trade association in the United Kingdom.

Wynn stated that a process is underway to fill McCarthy’s role.

Before working at TAQA, McCarthy held positions in corporate affairs, crisis comms and risk management at Burson-Marsteller (now known as BCW), Weber Shandwick, Edelman, MSL and Greentarget Global Group.

In a growth mode, Cognito has hired nine people since the beginning of 2021, and plans to recruit five additional employees before the end of the year.

Headquartered in London, Cognito is an independent, international, boutique public PR, marketing and strategic communications agency that specializes in assisting finance, technology and professional services organizations.

Cognito currently has 70 consultants in offices in London, New York, Los Angeles, Singapore, Amsterdam and Hong Kong. Its clients include FIS, ING in Europe and the U.S., Morningstar and MarketAxess. 

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