By CommPRO Editorial Staff
Barri Rafferty has been appointed worldwide president of Ketchum, effective immediately. This leadership shift follows the creation of Ketchum’s new 20-person Global Leadership Council (GLC) and the Break Through Advisory Board, which together bring in new voices and perspectives to its senior leadership team while activating disruptive thinking from all levels and corners of the agency. Rafferty’s appointment marks an era of accelerated innovation as the firm works to realize its vision to become the most valued agency in the world.
As Rafferty assumes the role of president, current president and CEO Rob Flaherty takes on the title of chairman and CEO, following Ray Kotcher’s transition to non-executive chairman in January.
In her new role as president, Barri will help advance the great momentum we already have underway, seize new opportunities and help manage our anticipated growth on a global basis,” said Flaherty. “An innovator and change agent for the firm for more than 20 years, Barri is distinctly qualified. She has a proven track record of anticipating the next shift in the marketing-communications landscape and blazing a path for new practice areas and divisions to meet our clients’ needs, delivering break through results, and developing and empowering our people to be successful.”
Rafferty joined Ketchum in 1994 and, since 2012, has led Ketchum’s North America business, its largest region, through a period of growth and business expansion. She anticipated the need for such practice areas as Ketchum Sports & Entertainment and Ketchum Digital, which she cultivated from a small creative team to an organization of more than 100 strategists, developers, producers and content creators. As president, Rafferty will work closely with senior leadership of the firm to guide agency strategy and business development. She will continue to oversee Ketchum’s North America offices as well as Ketchum Digital,Ketchum Sports & Entertainment, and complementary businesses Access Emanate Communications, Capstrat and Harrison & Shriftman.
Said Rafferty, “I am honored to assume the role of president from Rob, and I appreciate his confidence in me. Ketchum is filled with amazingly talented people, and I am motivated to unleash their full potential, to continue to champion innovation that anticipates client needs, and to enhance our creative resources and borderless approach to deliver business-building work. It is a great time for our industry and for Ketchum, and I am thrilled to be part of this exciting journey.”
During her 22-year tenure at Ketchum, Rafferty has held several other strategic roles, including overseeing the Global Brand Marketing Practice and serving as office director for the firm’s largest office, New York, as well as leading Ketchum South’sAtlanta and Dallas offices. In addition to providing exceptional agency leadership and client counsel to top brands and organizations, Rafferty has devoted time to mentor and develop key talent. She is an advocate for women’s leadership, a member of the governing body of OmniWomen, Omnicom’s Leading Women’s Network, and she has spoken on this topic on global, cross-industry stages including at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos. She also has supported important steps toward creating a more diverse agency, including appointing the firm’s first SVP and director of diversity and inclusion for North America in 2014.
Rafferty also has been involved with a number of groups, from the World Economic Forum’s sustainability taskforce to the Arthur W. Page Society’s Page Up program. Rafferty also sits on the executive board of StepUp, an organization with the mission of empowering girls from under-resourced communities to become confident, college-bound and career focused. She is a former chapter president and President’s Award winner from PRSA-NY and was a 2015 recipient of the Plank Center’s Milestones in Mentoring Award.
“Barri embodies the future of our agency, and our industry. She is an exceptional leader, client counselor, business partner and mentor. She is committed to the success and growth of the agency and our clients, and equally is a thought leader and advocate for the industry as a whole,” said Flaherty.