Fleishman’s Dave Senay Is ‘Just Plain Optimistic’

We had the chance to sit with Fleishman-Hillard president and CEO Dave Senay while he was in New York for a visit to talk about this year and the next. Straight away, Senay talked talent; he said the firm brought on 100 people at the VP-level or above this year, a move he described as “strategic.”

“It opens doors to new thinking, new people, new clients,” he said. There’s also “new leadership in place in a dozen key markets and practice groups.”

Among the new hires are Steve Hardwick as regional president and GM in New York, who is the former president of Grey Group; John Blyth, SVP and partner in Dallas who was previously the senior corp comms officer at McDonald’s; and Richard Kanareck, MD in London who was head of European communications for eBay.

(Fleishman announced staff cuts in 2009 and in the D.C. office in October.)

International work is also significant to the firm. Senay said two-thirds of clients are working with them in more than one region, citing examples like Tata in India, SK Corp in South Korea, and Huawei in China. Every program the firm creates has a digital component, whether paid (such as search advertising), earned, shared through social media, or produced content. “We’re all digitized,” he said.

A new focus for the firm is research and analytics. To that end, the firm has partnered with fellow Omnicom agency PHD.

To sum up, this year was a good one and going forward, Senay says he’s optimistic. “Not cautiously optimistic. Just plain optimistic.”