LONDON — David Gallagher, who spent 22 years with Ketchum before moving into an Omnicom PR Group (OPRG) role, will leave the company later this year, PRovoke Media can reveal.

Gallagher steps down as president of growth and international at OPRG, five years after taking on the newly-created role in 2016. Gallagher's appointment came shortly after the formation of OPRG in early 2016, and aimed to accelerate growth across the PR division's international operations.

His tenure saw the 2017 consolidation of Omnicom PR firms FleishmanHillard, Ketchum and Porter Novelli under the OPRG brand in four European markets, followed by a similar move in Singapore one year later. As part of his remit, Gallagher took on leadership of the OPRG-branded entities in France, Italy, Portugal, Netherlands and Spain.

He leaves to "explore new areas of opportunities outside the group," with the leadership transition expected to complete by 1 October of this year. Interim oversight will pass to Olivier Beheydt, COO for FleishmanHIllard EMEA.

"I first met David six or seven years ago when we both spoke on a panel at a conference in Stockholm, Sweden, and we found ourselves in vehement agreement on the need for continuous improvement in the areas of research, measurement and data analytics," OPRG CEO Chris Foster said in a memo to staff.

"His outspoken presence there was emblematic of his commitment to the development of our business and the wider communications industry, and reflected in the many roles he as served both inside OPRG and externally as a volunteer leader," he said.

Gallagher's exit follows the hire of Foster as OPRG CEO, after a lengthy search for the position. However, Gallagher's decision to leave the group is understood to predate Foster's appointment as Karen van Bergen's replacement. 

"My time at Ketchum and later with other agencies within Omnicom was the professional equivalent of hitting the jackpot," said Gallagher. "I’ll be forever in debt to the leaders, teams and clients who nurtured me from role to role, project to project, and country to country. I’m confident the group and its agencies will continue to thrive and lead the global communications sector well into the future. For me, it’s simply time to take a leap of faith and see what's out there."

Gallagher, who joined Ketchum in Washington DC in 1994, led a significant expansion of the firm’s European presence, culminating in the 2009 merger with German sibling Pleon. That deal made Ketchum one of the largest players in the region and eventually saw Gallagher named European CEO of the combined operation in 2011.

Foster told PRovoke Media: “David Gallagher will be missed by the many teams and agencies he has supported over his twenty-five years at Omnicom. I wish him every success as he explores the next chapter of his extraordinary career."