Home Business Troubled PR agency Teneo picks Ursula Burns as new chair

Troubled PR agency Teneo picks Ursula Burns as new chair


Teneo has named former Xerox boss Ursula Burns as its new chair, as the general public relations agency scrambles to reassure its Fortune 500 shoppers following the resignation of its longtime chief within the wake of misconduct allegations. 

Her appointment on Tuesday comes days after Declan Kelly, who co-founded the agency in 2011, resigned as chair and chief executive after the Monetary Instances revealed allegations that he had inappropriately touched six ladies at a charity occasion in Might. 

Teneo has been scrambling to stabilise itself after General Motors cancelled a not too long ago signed $250,000-a-month contract in response, heightening fears of a mass exodus of different essential shoppers, in addition to employees involved about the way forward for the corporate.

Kelly, who had initially deliberate to stay in cost, resigned final week and mentioned in an announcement that he had made “an inadvertent, public and embarrassing mistake for which I took full accountability and apologised to these straight affected, in addition to my colleagues and shoppers”. 

Kelly’s exit got here simply seven months after the departure of Doug Band, a former aide to US president Invoice Clinton, with whom he launched the enterprise. 

Burns, who’s a uncommon African-American company chief within the US and sits on boards together with at ExxonMobil and Uber, has labored as a senior adviser to Teneo since 2017 after stepping down at Xerox. 

After the allegations got here to gentle, Burns informed the New York Instances: “It is a buddy of mine who undoubtedly had a nasty incidence — and he has to take care of that, and he’s coping with that as we go ahead.” The duo are within the strategy of elevating funds for a non-public fairness agency known as Integrum that they launched together in April with two different companions. 

“I’ve a deep understanding of the enterprise, the wants of its shoppers, and a honest appreciation for all the good Teneo professionals all over the world,” Burns mentioned in an announcement.

Paul Keary, one other Teneo co-founder who was named chief govt final week, mentioned in an inside memo saying the appointment of Burns: “I realise that current occasions have been tough for everybody.”

He added: “I’ve been extremely heartened by the assist we have now obtained from so many consumers and associates.”

Teneo’s troubles have additionally put strain on personal fairness group CVC Capital Companions, which has poured at the very least $450m into the agency since turning into its majority shareholder in 2019. 

Christopher Stadler, the pinnacle of CVC’s enterprise in North America, oversees the Teneo funding and can also be co-chairman of International Citizen, the charity group that held the Vax Reside live performance on Might 2 the place Kelly’s alleged inappropriate conduct came about. 

Teneo payments itself because the world’s main CEO advisory agency with a roster of shoppers together with Coca-Cola, Normal Electrical and Tesco. Following completion of a deal to accumulate Deloitte’s UK restructuring enterprise final month, the agency employs 1,250 employees and has revenues of near $400m. 


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