Aarti Shah 14 Aug 2017 // 9:42PM GMT
NEW YORK — Grayling US CEO Peter Harris is leaving the firm at the end of the month with plans to launch his own consultancy, meanwhile Huntsworth CEO Paul Taaffe steps into into the role in the interim.
Harris will continue to work with Grayling to provide high level counsel to key clients, according to a statement from the firm. Taaffe added that “Peter has made a tremendous contribution during his tenure as CEO, managing the integration of a number of disparate businesses under the Grayling banner. We thank him for that, and are pleased we will be able to continue to call on him.”
In 2016, Huntsworth reported like-for-like revenue growth of 1.2%, weighed down by continued decline at Grayling, which saw revenues drop 17.4% during the year. In 2016 Grayling underwent a significant restructuring that included removing unprofitable agencies and closing the state lobbying business in the US, among other changes, with plans for the firm to focus on its PR offering moving forward.
"No further restructuring is anticipated, and we are on track to return to profitability this year," Jon Meakin, Grayling's global head of strategic services told the Holmes Report. "We divested ourselves of the legacy state and local lobbying businesses some time ago, so yes, our focus is on PR services - although we do also retain public affairs capabilities in DC. And it is worth saying that we give 'PR services' a pretty broad definition – social, content, etc."
Before joining Grayling in 2014, Harris was SVP at MSLGroup where he was among the agency’s corporate and tech practice leads, as well as the global lead for the United Technologies account. He joined Grayling amid substantial change as the firm looked to become more competitive in North America and underwent leadership changes.
His new firm will be called the Harris Agency and will focus on reputation, crisis and issues management.