NEW YORK-- Ketchum has promoted Rob Flaherty to the role of global CEO, with Ray Kotcher becoming chairman of the Omnicom Group firm.

The planned leadership transition comes 12 years after Kotcher became CEO of the firm, during which he has overseen significant global expansion of the agency.23-year Ketchum veteran Flaherty has held the role of president at the firm since 2008 and will retain that role in addition to his new responsibility as CEO.

Flaherty will continue to report to Kotcher. The leadership transition mirrors Kotcher’s own ascent when, in 2000, he became CEO and Dave Drobis became chairman before retiring in 2003.

Over the course of his career at Ketchum, Flaherty has led its largest office (New York), one of its global practices (Corporate) and several of its largest client engagements, including IBM, FedEx, Philips and Pfizer.

“Ray has developed and maintained a genuinely talented, effective and stable senior leadership team. His ability to lead and plan with this group will ensure the transition to Rob will be seamless,” said Dale Adams, president and CEO of the Omnicom Diversified Agency Services group that houses its PR firms. “Rob has a deep belief in the power of communications and its ability to affect change. I know that as CEO he will bring this passion to the firm, its people, clients and the industry and drive Ketchum’s continued success.”

“As CEO, Ray developed the Ketchum brand into one of the most successful in the DAS group of companies and in the public relations sector,” added Adams. He champions a commitment to talent development, high-value client service and strengthened the creative product of the agency, which continually earns Ketchum an extraordinary record of awards and recognition. I have great respect for Ray’s leadership and many accomplishments and am pleased to have his continued commitment and involvement as chairman.”

Kotcher began his Ketchum career in 1983, before being appointed president in 1992. Under his leadership, Ketchum became one of the biggest firms in Europe after merging with Omnicom sibling Pleon in 2009, and expanded its geographic footprint to China, India, Russia and the Middle East.

“By all measures, we have just completed the most successful year in our history culminating in Ketchum receiving many of the industry’s most prestigious awards for our client work and for the firm itself,” said Kotcher. “The appointment of Rob to CEO has been long planned for and he is distinctly qualified for this role.Given Rob’s reputation throughout the industry as a respected counselor and strategist, I know it will be greeted with great enthusiasm. For our people, it is a clear demonstration that our agency will continue to protect and be guided by our deeply rooted values.”

As chief executive, Flaherty will work with Kotcher and other leaders of the firm to guide agency strategy. He will also remain focused on providing clients with breakthrough ideas and the agency’s talent with clear opportunities for growth.

“Having called Ketchum my home for 23 years, I am deeply honored to assume the role of CEO from Ray,” said Flaherty. “I am motivated to maintain the successful course that Ray and our leadership team have charted. I plan to focus on priorities such as bringing broad global perspective to the agency’s leadership team and continuing to innovate with an agile approach to identifying and introducing new products and services that help clients seize timely opportunities.”