ST. LOUIS—After 26 years at Golin/Harris, Rich Jernstedt is leaving the firm to become executive vice president and senior partner at Fleishman-Hillard, where he will focus on client work and business development. Jernstedt was named chairman of Golin/Harris last year, after serving as its chief executive for 12 years.
Jernstedt will be based in Fleishman’s Chicago office, but will serve as a worldwide resource for client development and new business.
Says Fleishman chairman and chief executive John Graham, “I have known Rich for many years, both as a strong competitor and as an industry colleague in many organizations. He has a real passion for our business, along with the combination of energy, good humor, and personal integrity that will make him a great fit with our culture and a valuable resource for our clients.”
Graham says Jernstedt will have no administrative responsibility and will be focused entirely on client work.
That was clearly part of the attraction of the new position from Jernstedt’s perspective. “Two things attracted me,” he says. “The first was the chance, after 26 years at Golin/Harris, to have something at this stage of my career that was disruptive, that presented a new challenge. The second was the opportunity to work at an agency this size. At Golin, we always wanted to develop the kind of resources that would enable us to offer a full range of services to our clients globally and it’s great to be able to step into that situation here.”
In addition, Jernstedt will be reunited with a number of former Golin colleagues. He will be working very closely with Jack Mozelewski, a Golin alum and former general manager of FH Chicago, who is now the firm’s president of client relations. And Richard Kline, who was head of Golin’s Los Angeles operations, is now president of Fleishman’s western region.
In fact, Kline was Fleishman’s last senior hire from outside the organization: the firm is known for growing its own talent. Says Graham, “This was an unusual step for us, but Rich is an unusual guy and this was an unusual opportunity.”
During his 26 years with Golin/Harris, Jernstedt played an integral role in that firm’s growth from a local Chicago agency to an international player. He is particularly well known for his counseling ability in the areas of consumer branding and product marketing, and has additional experience in crisis management, corporate communications, and reputation management.
Before joining Golin/Harris, Jernstedt spent five years in corporate marketing communications with Container Corporation of America and served for three years as a U.S. Navy public affairs officer on aircraft carriers in the Western Pacific and Mediterranean.
Jernstedt says he would not have considered leaving Golin for any other firm. “Golin/Harris is in very good hands,” he adds. “The leadership team is a great group of people and they will continue to develop the company.”
Fred Cook, who took over from Jernstedt as chief executive last year, said that founder Al Golin would resume his role as chairman. “He will represent us not only with clients but also as an agency ambassador,” he says. “He will increase his level of involvement in some ways, but the fact is that has always been his role.”