NEW YORK, United States — In 1990, Julie Mannion and Ed Filipowski, then-employees at fashion public relations firm KCD, were named agency partners. Nearly 30 years later, as the industry continues on a path of rapid transformation, Mannion and Filipowski are doing the same for eight of their most seasoned employees across the globe. And restructuring the business along the way.
Partners Renee Barletta, Jarrad Clark, Txampi Diz, Marty Griffeth, Laurence Laure, Nan Richards, Rachna Shah and Kerry Youmans will join Mannion and Filipowski on a newly formed executive committee. The group — each of whom currently lead divisions across the company ranging from finance (Griffeth) to digital (Shah) — has been tasked with establishing a five-year plan to further integrate the agency’s offices in New York, Paris, London and Los Angeles, as well as its five divisions, which are Media Relations, Creative Services, Digital, Entertainment and Technology, and Consulting. Each partner now has an ownership stake in the company.
The new structure aims to move the firm away from traditional departmental silos. In recent years, advertising agencies such as Publicis Groupe and publishing houses including Condé Nast have adopted similar group structures, which encourage integrated thinking and more holistic client solutions.
It’s about changes in the industry and changes in the way PR agencies work.
“Clients don’t just want to know about a placement in a magazine, they want to know that they’re getting the big-picture advice,” explained Filipowski. “It can’t all just funnel up to two people. You need a group of voices who can all speak in the same way.”
While Mannion and Filipowski’s involvement in the business will remain the same, their titles have changed from co-presidents to co-chairmen.
“It’s about changes in the industry and changes in the way PR agencies work; we need to adapt to what clients want based on more than just day-to-day handholding,” Filipowski said. “It’s a lot more strategy, development, being their partner. Just as publishing companies are changing and consolidating, we need to keep our agency forward-thinking and re-adapt our management structure.”
KCD was founded in 1984 by Kezia Keeble, Paul Cavaco and John Duka. The company has over 80 clients, from Victoria’s Secret to Givenchy, and 94 employees.