Ketchum Chairman, Public Relations Industry Luminary Rob Flaherty Announces Retirement After 40-Year Career

Ketchum Chairman, Public Relations Industry Luminary Rob Flaherty  Announces Retirement After 40-Year Career


Alicia Stetzer


[email protected]

NEW YORK, May 11, 2021 – Rob Flaherty, chairman of leading global communications consultancy Ketchum, today announced a planned retirement after an esteemed 40-year career as an innovator and leader in the public relations industry and more than 32 years at Ketchum. His last day with the firm will be June 15.

Since joining Ketchum in 1989, Flaherty climbed the ranks at the top-five global firm, having led its headquarters office in New York, managed its global corporate practice and many of its largest global client engagements before becoming president in 2008 and serving as CEO from 2012 to 2017. Flaherty has since served as chairman, counseling clients at the C-suite level and developing corporate positioning and narratives for some of the world’s leading corporate brands.

During Flaherty’s 32-year tenure, the firm grew exponentially in size, having expanded globally to its current presence with offices and affiliates in more than 70 countries. In his combined 13 years serving as president, CEO and chairman, Ketchum won more awards for its client work than any other agency, including multiple Cannes Lions, SABRE Awards, PRWeek Awards and Silver Anvils, in addition to being named PRWeek’s Best Agency of the Past 20 Years in 2019.

“I’m incredibly proud to have helped lead this firm into its second century, and to then have witnessed the resiliency we’ve shown in navigating the most challenging crisis of our lifetime over the last year,” said Flaherty. “I leave knowing that this firm is in the best of hands with CEO Mike Doyle and his executive leadership team, and that their vision for the future will lead Ketchum, its people and its clients to continually grow and thrive.”

Doyle added, “There is only one Rob Flaherty, and what a privilege it has been for our Ketchum colleagues and clients to stand behind and beside him all these years. He has been Ketchum’s conscience, and the character, authenticity, warmth and deep passion for the communications craft he has instilled in this firm will reverberate through our physical and virtual halls forever.”

Committed to the development of the public relations discipline, Flaherty plans to continue serving as a board member for several industry organizations, including the Arthur W. Page Society’s Board of Trustees, the LAGRANT Foundation’s Board of Directors, and the College of Charleston’s Department of Communication Executive Advisory Council.

“One of the things I love the most about the job of the professional communicator is using our skills to help people – doing good for business while also bettering society,” said Flaherty. “In retirement I look forward to giving back by continuing to serve organizations that advance our industry, while also donating my time and skills by crafting narratives and leading strategy sessions for nonprofit organizations that are making a real difference in our communities.”

Renowned as one of the industry’s top thought leaders, Flaherty has spoken on key global stages, including Web Summit, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, PRAXIS India, and the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Flaherty previously served on the Institute for Public Relations’ executive committee, the board of the Economic Crime Institute, and on the agency management committee of the PR Council. He has served on the advisory board of directors for Room to Read and has co-chaired the Public Relations Society of America’s annual international conference.

Flaherty’s innumerable contributions to the industry have been recognized with significant awards and honors, including multiple inclusions on PRWeek’s Power List, being named PR Leader of the Year by the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO), and winning a lifetime achievement SABRE Award from PRovoke Media.

Prior to Ketchum, Rob worked at Burson-Marsteller in New York. Prior to that, he was Director of Public Relations for the F.X. Matt Brewing Company in Utica, N.Y. He is a graduate of Utica College of Syracuse University and was the 2017 distinguished speaker for Utica College’s undergraduate commencement ceremony.

About Ketchum
The winner of 105 Cannes Lions and PRovoke’s Global Creative Agency of the Year, Ketchum is the most creatively awarded firm in our industry. We’re equal parts human-centered and business-focused, empathetic and intelligent. As a global communications consultancy, we combine the deep industry and specialty expertise of boutique firms with global reach to find unexpected connections that lead to lasting relationships and work that matters. For more information on Ketchum, a part of Omnicom Public Relations Group, visit

About Omnicom Public Relations Group
Omnicom Public Relations Group is a global collective of three of the top global public relations agencies worldwide and specialist agencies in areas including public affairs, marketing to women, global health strategy and corporate social responsibility. It encompasses more than 6,300 public relations professionals in more than 370 offices worldwide who provide their expertise to companies, government agencies, NGOs and nonprofits across a wide range of industries. Omnicom Public Relations Group delivers for clients through a relentless focus on talent, continuous pursuit of innovation and a culture steeped in collaboration. Omnicom Public Relations Group is part of the DAS Group of Companies, a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC) that includes more than 200 companies in a wide range of marketing disciplines including advertising, public relations, healthcare, customer relationship management, events, promotional marketing, branding and research.

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