CHICAGO—Keith Burton, currently regional managing director of the Chicago, New York, Dallas and Houston offices of GolinHarris, has been named to the additional role of president of InsideEdge, the firm’s employee communications practice group.
InsideEdge is one of two branded practice areas within GolinHarris, along with change, which specializes in cause related marketing and corporate philanthropy. It currently has about 18 employees around the world, most of them working full-time on employee communications assignments and has completed several major assignments, including a recent project on behalf of the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA).
Burton has been managing director of Golin’s Chicago office since 1999 and has also served as chief client officer and director of the agency’s worldwide corporate and employee communications practice. His experience in the employee communications arena goes back to his time at previous firms including Ketchum, and includes work in areas such as labor relations, mergers and acquisitions, corporate divestitures, internal branding and executive communications.
“Keith was among the early leaders in positioning employee communications as a discipline that must be integrated by executive teams to enhance performance” says Fred Cook, GolinHarris president and chief executive. “He’s developed many of the best practices in employee communications.”
Cook added, “Building InsideEdge into a world-class organization is our highest priority.”
InsideEdge includes employees in the firm’s Chicago, New York, Dallas and Los Angeles offices, with plans for expansion to Europe and Asia. Cook says he hopes the capabilities of InsideEdge can also be made available to clients of other Interpublic companies.
While full-service PR firms have historically found it difficult to build a significant presence in employee communications—which often is led by human resources rather than corporate communications—there are signs that several large firms are gearing up to make a new push for this kind of business. Ogilvy Public Relations recently signed a partnership agreement with employee communications expert Bob Matha and Ketchum has announced new leadership for its Stromberg Consulting unit.