It was ironically over my morning cup of java that I learned from Bill Murray that he will be leaving PRSA this June to begin a new chapter in his life as CEO of the National Coffee Association. For more than seven years, Bill has been an incredible leader to PRSA and a great friend to me and to so many of us. During his tenure at PRSA, Bill significantly improved the infrastructure of the organization, establishing a number of new best practices while instilling a bottom-line business sensibility. Bill is now ready to take on new challenges and, while he will be greatly missed, he leaves PRSA on a high note with the organization financially healthy and poised for growth.
Just as it’s an exciting new chapter for Bill, it’s also a new chapter for PRSA. As we like to say at PRSA, there’s never been a more exciting time to work in the profession. Social media helped to level the playing field between public relations, advertising and marketing and, in a media environment that is a two-way dialogue, PR is uniquely suited to lead. Our new leader will join a strong PRSA that stands ready to seize upon the opportunities created by the new transformed business and media landscape that has helped fuel PR to become one of the fastest growing business categories.
Our effort is already underway to identify a new CEO to succeed Bill and the Executive Committee and National Board have engaged Korn Ferry to help lead our executive search. As part of the search firm selection process, we conducted multiple interviews with a number of agencies. Korn Ferry impressed us with the strength and knowledge of its team (particularly in the association space), the deep and extensive process they follow in identifying candidates, and the firm’s strong reputation and proven track record.
In the weeks ahead, the Korn Ferry team will conduct extensive research including interviews with a number of key stakeholders, as well as cull feedback we’ve received from members through surveys and other channels. This will be an inclusive process and we look forward to sharing the specifications for the CEO position with you in the coming weeks.
It is our goal to identify a new CEO by early Fall but as we work hard to identify the best candidate possible, we’re preparing for the possibility that the search could take longer. During the interim period between Bill’s departure on June 2nd and the start date for his successor, Immediate Past Chair Mickey G. Nall, APR, Fellow PRSA, will join me in serving as Interim Co-CEOs. With a very strong and capable team in place at PRSA headquarters, we anticipate a seamless process throughout the transition.
I would also like to take a moment to extend my gratitude to the many members who have reached out via email, phone and in-person at PRSA events. Our members are the lifeblood of our organization and I am so appreciative for your dedication and support.
We will continue to keep you updated with news from HQ – and I look forward to seeing many of you in the weeks ahead at the PRSA Silver Anvil Ceremony and at Leadership Rally…
Joe Cohen, APR, is 2014 Chair of PRSA.