When Ray Kotcher took over as chief executive of Ketchum in 2000, the firm was already riding high. For much of the previous decade, under the leadership of Kotcher’s predecessor Dave Drobis, the firm had been a consistent industry leader: an undisputed employer of choice, a pioneer in the use of research and evaluation, and the biggest winner in awards competitions. In other words, there didn’t seem to be much room for improvement.