ST. LOUIS— Fleishman-Hillard International Communications has named regional president and senior partner John Modzelewski to the newly created position of president of client relations, and regional president and senior partner David Senay to succeed Modzelewski as interim regional president of Europe and South Africa.
According to Fleishman chairman and chief executive John Graham, both moves are designed to maximize the future growth potential of the agency.
“Fleishman-Hillard has a longstanding reputation for building solid, enduring client relationships, but where we have especially strong relationship managers, our outstanding client service often leads to great organic growth,” says Graham. “With that in mind, we have decided to take a more structured approach to client relationship management. Jack Modzelewski’s more than 20 years of experience serving clients and developing staff, both here and abroad, make him an outstanding choice to take on this important new responsibility.”
Since 1999, Modzelewski has headed the firm’s operations in Europe and has helped FH grow from a relatively minor player to one of the top ten firms in the region. Previously, he founded and served as general manager of the firm’s Chicago office.
Senay will become interim regional president of Europe and South Africa, while continuing to oversee the agency’s operations in the central U.S. Since 2001, Senay has overseen the firm’s largest region, which includes its headquarters in St. Louis, as well as its offices in Chicago, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.
According to Modzelewski, his position had its origins in a meeting that involved senior execs including himself and Senay, Peter Verrengia, Paul Johnson, Richard Kline, Janise Murphy, working on a three-year strategic plan for the firm. “Our view is that growth is not so much a goal but a positive outcome of doing many things right,” he says. “So our discussions centered on how we can make ourselves more relevant in more ways to our clients and potential clients.
While ‘client relations’ is the shared responsibility of many at Fleishman-Hillard, our strategic plan led John Graham to conclude that it would be good to have a senior member of the firm take on this role full-time. I relish this because it combines two important success factors: our tradition of earning long-term client satisfaction and retention and our underappreciated track record for innovating solutions to business communication challenges.”
The interface between the agency and the client, Modzelewski says, will now include three key people: general managers of offices; sector and specialization practice leaders; and client relationship managers. “During my earlier FH career I could be all three—GM, practice leader, and client relationship manager—at the same time,” he says. “But today we are a larger, more complex organization, so the mission of client relations and service is a more distributed responsibility.”
CRMs will have a variety of “tools” to work with, including new training and development programs, investment hires, cross-coordination of practice group expertise, knowledge management and research tools, and sharper insights into clients’ industries through competitive intelligence.