Nides takes B-M seat as Komisarjevsky retires

NEW YORK: Burson-Marsteller worldwide president and CEO Chris Komisarjevsky has announced his retirement and is to be succeeded on 8 November by former Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) chief administrative officer Tom Nides.

Komisarjevsky, who turns 60 next year, is standing down after ten years at the agency to spend more time with his nine children, six of whom are between the ages of ten and 16.

‘The time was right. The brand is very strong, the business is in very good shape and there is a strong leadership team in place,’ he said.

Nides quit CSFB in July, in part of a wave of resignations that included the US investment firm’s chairman, CEO and chief financial officer. As CSFB chief administrative officer, Nides oversaw corporate comms, public affairs, marketing, and HR for a global workforce of 2,000, as well as IT and administrative functions. He was previously senior vice-president at confectioner Fannie May and a principal at Morgan Stanley.

Komisarjevsky denied Nides’s lack of agency experience would prove an issue, particularly with the presence of agency founder Harold Burson, who as chairman maintains a hands-on role. ‘You want people around the table with different ideas and thoughts to create some debate,’ he said.

He suggested Nides’s arrival would not spell dramatic change for B-M, saying that the agency has been built on organic growth rather than acquisition and would maintain its philosophy of operating a ‘global common company with a seamless culture’.

Komisarjevsky said he expected Nides, who reports to Young & Rubicam Brands chairman and CEO Ann Fudge, to spend significant time in Europe, adding that two of B-M’s 14 ‘key client relationships’, which account for 38 per cent of its total worldwide revenue, are run out of London.

B-M chief executive UK and co-CEO Europe Per Heggenes, as a member of BM’s executive board, will report directly to Nides.

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