CHICAGO — Golin has elevated agency veteran Ellen Ryan Mardiks to global chairman, succeeding Fred Cook, who becomes chair emeritus.

As chairman, Mardiks holds the agency’s top non-operational position, in which she is responsible for leading and shaping the organization in conjunction with CEO Matt Neale and Gary Rudnick, president & COO.

She has been with Golin for 37 years, serving as vice chair since 2010. Earlier roles include leading the firm's global consumer practice and its headquarters Chicago office.

Mardiks said her overarching focus will be on all aspects of Golin’s performance with clients, which includes developing agency talent and fostering innovation.

“We have just wrapped up a year where PR agencies, including ours, have played a more important role with clients than perhaps ever,” Mardiks told PRovoke. “We see that continuing into 2021, so I want us to double down on everything we’re bringing to clients, what we are innovating for clients and raise the bar of what it means to be brilliant client counselors.”

Mardkis will serve as leader of the Golin Top Client Leaders (TCL) program and as an executive consultant to C-suite leaders for some of the agency’s largest clients including Humana, Nestlé and Walmart. Mardiks also is responsible for shaping work products and agency IP.

“Ellen is one of the most gifted and talented client counselors in Golin’s history,” said Neale. “She helps clients, from our oldest to our newest, understand the value of earned-first ideas to drive business. There is no better time to recognize and extend Ellen’s influence and make it possible for more clients and more of our people to benefit from her sage guidance.”

Cook (who also has been with Golin for more than 30 years) will remain on Golin’s global executive leadership team and continue to oversee key accounts. Based in Los Angeles, Cook will also help Golin’s LA office grow and develop. He retains his position as director of the University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Public Relations.

“Fred is the architect of Golin’s success as a world-class agency in the modern era,” said Neale. “He has been Golin’s North Star for the past two decades and I’m thrilled to be working with him in this new role.”

The leadership change comes after Neale became sole CEO in late 2019, overseeing the combined operations of Golin and DeVries Global.