NEW YORK—Chris Komisarjevsky is stepping down as worldwide president and CEO of Burson-Marsteller. He will be replaced by Thomas Nides, most recently chief administrative officer of Credit Suisse First Boston, an executive with no experience in the public relations agency business.
Komisarjevsky spent the past 10 years at Burson-Marsteller and the last six as its worldwide leader, helping the firm recover from a couple of major problems—an accounting scandal in Asia and the decision to eliminate country managers in favor of practice leaders in Europe—to restore B-M to the front rank of global public relations firms.
Said agency founder Harold Burson, “Chris Komisarjevsky has served Burson-Marsteller well, enhancing our global reputation by instilling a strong work ethic and the delivery of gold standard service to our clients. I know that hundreds of Burson-Marsteller employees in 55 countries on six continents join me in thanking him for his commitment and passion for our business from the time he joined us 10 years ago. We all wish him well.”
Nides and Mr. Komisarjevsky will work together for a period of time to ensure a smooth transition of leadership for Burson-Marsteller and its clients, the firm says.
“Tom is an outstanding communications professional with a superb track record of leadership in global organizations,” says Ann Fudge, Chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam Brands, the parent of Burson-Marsteller under WPP’s structure. “At Credit Suisse First Boston he was a key member of the senior management team that achieved the firm’s dramatic turnaround. He recruited world-class talent, served as a trusted adviser to clients and helped set strategic direction for the firm.
“Tom is a dynamic, hands-on leader with exceptional people skills, who is both a proven business leader and a talented practitioner of strategic communications. As the economy continues to improve, he will provide the leadership necessary to further build the Burson-Marsteller brand and continue the progress the company has made in collaborating with all of the Young & Rubicam Brands companies.”
Nides most recently served as global chief administrative officer of Credit Suisse First Boston, the New York-based investment bank, where he managed 2,000 employees worldwide, overseeing corporate communications, government relations, advertising, marketing, human resources, philanthropy and other administrative functions. Prior to working at CSFB, Nides was a senior vice president and member of the operating committee at Fannie Mae, the large financial services company.
Nides previously served as a principal with Morgan Stanley, the New York-based global investment bank, where he was in charge of global communications, marketing, government relations and philanthropy. He earlier served as chief of staff to the U.S. Trade Representative, where he worked closely with many large American and multinational corporations. This followed eight years on Capitol Hill, including four years as executive assistant to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“Burson-Marsteller is a powerful global brand with great potential - it has many world-class people serving some of the finest companies as clients,” Nides says. “I’ve spent much of my career working at professional services firms intensely committed to client service. I look forward to bringing that experience to Burson-Marsteller and working with the talented people there on innovative ways to further enhance service to our clients.”
Says Komisarjevsky “Burson-Marsteller is a remarkable company with a deep and broad management team. The brand is strong. Client service is high. Awards from the industry tell us that and so do our clients. We are a very special company with deep, global client relationships and a role in the industry as a thought-leader. I am very proud to have worked with so many outstanding talented professionals and to have been part of the success we have had of late.”