Last night, Fleishman-Hillard welcomed former New York Times Company CEO Janet Robinson to its International Advisory Board with a cocktail party at Andaz, a hotel across from the New York Public Library. Besides a few quick speeches from CEO Dave Senay, Americas president Jack Modzelewski (surprisingly easy to pronounce!), and Robinson herself, the evening was mostly taken up with mingling and noshing.
A quick mention about this event space: It’s a couple of open rooms with cooks working at stoves placed right in the middle of one of them. Because of the layout (a wine bar was in one room and cocktails were in the other) people moved about freely to check out the happenings in the different corners. Mediabistro’s event coordinator came with and gave it the thumbs up.
Many of those in attendance were F-H staffers. However, there were others as well, including members of the media, clients (one attendee confided that she prefers F-H to the other big-name firm the organization hired a few months ago), and, Senay said during his introductory speech, “the competition who is here incognito.”
After opening remarks, we grabbed Robinson for a few moments to ask her about the transition from the Times Company to PR. It’s not quite the same experience as a journalist coming over from an editorial position, she said, and focused instead on the role she’d be filling.
“There’s very much a need,” Robinson told us, characterizing crisis and corporate communications as “tricky” nowadays. “People need help with transparency,” she added.
Will Robinson be going to the office every day to provide counsel? No. But she’ll be available to clients like other Board members, who include Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; Andrew Card, Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush; and Keki Dadiseth, former chairman of Hindustan Unilever and the company’s personal care operations around the world.
Following Omnicom’s earnings release on Tuesday, we asked Senay about Fleishman’s plans. He called the earnings results “solid” and talked about the firm’s continued integration moves, including efforts in the paid area, which are there to further the reputation efforts of clients, he said. According to Senay, the firm had $100 million in placements last year, a number that he’s “surprised” by.