Porter Novelli cofounder Jack Porter dies

Agency cofounder Bill Novelli referred to Porter as a “mentor, businessman, entrepreneur and in the action – always on the field of play.”

Jack Porter (image via Porter Novelli's Twitter page)

NEW YORK: Porter Novelli cofounder Jack Porter has died.

Bill Novelli, with whom Porter founded Porter Novelli 50 years ago in 1972, said in an emailed statement that Porter died on Monday.

Porter Novelli posted a moving tribute about Porter written by Novelli on Tuesday evening. Novelli noted that he will remember Porter as a “mentor, businessman, entrepreneur and in the action – always on the field of play.”

While he was successful in his career, Porter was also “willing to pursue adventure – to be an entrepreneur,” said Novelli. “That was the driving force that engaged me and that led to Porter Novelli.”

The two worked together to market Peace Corps and then started to build the firm, with its first major client being the National Institutes of Health, for whom they created the National High Blood Pressure Education Program.

“The initial idea was to work out of Jack’s house,” Novelli said. “But then he convinced a local Washington, DC, ad agency, Henry J. Kaufman, to give us a couple of offices and a turn at the copying machine. In return, they could list us on their roster and involve us in new business pitches.”

Chicago ad agency Needham Harper Steers acquired Porter Novelli in 1981 and then merged with Omnicom Group in 1988.

Porter was “very proud” of the agency, said Novelli, in addition to his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, where he served as a trustee.

In 2021, the Omnicom-owned firm posted a revenue increase of 10% globally to $165 million and a revenue jump of 9% in the U.S. to $120 million, according to PRWeek’s Agency Business Report 2022.

In 2012, Porter and Novelli spoke with PRWeek about their company’s then-40th anniversary in a video interview viewable here.

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