CHICAGO— Ron Culp, former head of Sears public relations and government affairs, has joined Citigate Sard Verbinnen as a managing director, and will head the firm’s Chicago office, its first outside of New York. In a related move, Citigate parent company Incepta is restructuring its public relations operations, placing its existing Chicago office, the former Media Strategy, under the Sard Verbinnen banner.
“Chicago is one of the nation’s key financial, commercial and manufacturing centers,” says George Sard, Chairman and CEO of Citigate Sard Verbinnen. “Although we have served clients in the Chicago area for more than 10 years, establishing a physical presence in the region is a strategic move that we have been contemplating for some time.
“Ron Culp is a major talent, and we are delighted that he has chosen to join our team. Having worked with Ron for several years when he was at Sears, we know he brings a wealth of experience and local relationships to our firm, and that he is the right person to spearhead our expansion into the Midwest.”
Along with Culp, the office will initially have 10 professionals, including two who are relocating from New York: Judy Brennan, a principal, and Kara Findlay, a senior associate. Transferring from the Citigate Chicago office is Candice Warltier, who had been heading the office since the departure of Sue Silk earlier this year.
The office will continue to serve a diverse group of existing clients, says Culp, while Brennan, Findlay and he will focus on financial and corporate assignments similar to those handled by CSV New York. The Chicago office also has a strong spokesperson and media training center that Culp says he plans to expand.
Says Culp, “This is an exciting challenge that I am eager to take on. I’ve worked with numerous public relations agencies during my career and know firsthand that Citigate Sard Verbinnen occupies the very top echelon when it comes to providing both strategic counsel and hands-on communications support to clients.”
Culp worked with CSV on a financial PR project for Sears. “George Sard and Paul Verbinnen set the tone throughout the organization with their direct client involvement, which creates a unique culture of client service of the very highest caliber,” he says. “I’m joining a great team, and look forward to working with my new colleagues to expand this world-class franchise into a community where I have been involved for 16 years.”
Prior to joining Citigate Sard Verbinnen, Culp was senior vice president, public relations and government affairs at Sears, Roebuck and Co. for ten years, reporting to two CEOs: Arthur Martinez and Alan Lacy. Prior to joining Sears, Culp was executive director of corporate relations at Sara Lee.