MELBOURNE — PROI Worldwide has named Angela Scaffidi and Nicola Nel global chair and global managing director respectively, marking the first time the independent agency network has been led by women.

Scaffidi (pictured) is founder and managing partner of Australian consultancy SenateSHJ, which works with clients in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors throughout Australasia. She has served for many years on the PROI Board, representing the APAC region. She is also a fellow of Communication and Public Relations Australia (CPRA) and a member of Chief Executive Women in Australia.

“This appointment is an honour,” Scaffidi said. “I look forward to working with my partners and friends across the globe to grow the PROI’s influence in our industry. Together we have a team of 8,800 people around the world. It’s a powerful force to drive positive change, both in our industry and society. I’m excited to help our partners to flex their entrepreneurial muscle, continue to grow and make an even greater impact on the world.”

Nel founded her South African agency Atmosphere Communications more than two decades ago and built it into one of the most highly regarded PR consultancies in the country. Atmosphere was sold to Accenture Song in 2021.

“I'm thrilled to take on the role of global managing director. The independent network model fosters a spirit of collaboration and innovation that excites me. I firmly believe that the work of independent communications agencies will play an integral role in the marketing mix going forward and networks such as PROI hold the key to the future of our industry. I'm eager to work alongside PROI's talented entrepreneurial agency owners to shape that future."

Nel replaces Jeff Altheide who is retiring after nearly 45 years in public relations. In the 50+ year history of PROI, Scaffidi is only the second woman to hold the global chair position. Nel will be the third global managing director, and the first woman in the role.

“By any measure, PROI is in its strongest position in its 50-plus year history,” said outgoing global chair Jeff Lambert, chairman and CEO of Lambert by LLYC. “Both Angela and Nicola are long-time PROI partners and have established highly trusted and respected positions within the group. PROI could not have a more powerful duo to lead the network into a bright future.”