Need for More Flexible Schedule Spurs McDermott to ‘Refocus’

By Sarah Jones

BOSTON–Pam McDermott surprised colleagues last week with an announcement that she was stepping down as president of McDermott/O’Neill Strategic Communications here.

‘The bottom line is I needed more flexibility to control my own schedule,’ McDermott said. ‘When you run a $7 million company with 45 employees, your time is not your own. I need to simplify my life.’

McDermott plans to remain in the office until July 1, at which point she will become ‘of counsel’ to the public affairs firm. She also plans to take on outside marketing and public relations consulting projects, including real estate and relationship marketing between the U.S. and Canada.

A mention in The Boston Globe of her intention to scale back her agency involvement cited a desire by McDermott to become more involved in the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. ‘I’m not retiring. I’m refocusing,’ she told Adweek.

Geri Denterlein, director of communications and public relations, said there were no immediate plans to replace McDermott because there was a ‘strong’ senior management structure in place.

McDermott’s business partner, Tom O’Neill, was said to be vacationing in Greece last week and could not be reached for comment.

McDermott/O’Neill was formed in 1990 when McDermott merged her company, Northeast Management & Marketing Co., with O’Neill’s Baystate Investors. Clients have included the New England Aquarium, Tufts University and Hale & Dorr.

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