NEW YORK, November 13, 2018 – BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe), a leading global communications agency, announced today that Brian Ellner has joined as Executive Vice President, Global Corporate Solutions, responsible for leading and growing BCW’s U.S. Corporate Practice. Ellner takes on the role previously held by Aranthan “AJ” Jones II, who will now lead the firm’s Public Affairs and Crisis Practice in the U.S.
“Corporations are navigating an increasingly complex world where their reputations are tied not only to their own performance but also to their behavior on topics like climate, gender pay equity, visa status, diversity and inclusion and the environment,” said Chris Foster, President, North America, BCW. “Brian has deep experience helping clients build and protect their reputations, manage business transformation and create authentic social purpose engagements. He is a seasoned strategic counselor and power player in the New York business world and will bring our clients and our business clear opportunities for growth.”
Ellner joins BCW from Edelman in New York, where for four years he was General Manager for Public Affairs and Issues Advocacy leading clients in the finance, food, education, nonprofit, philanthropic, professional sports and transportation spaces. Before that, he spent two years as Vice Chairman, Education Holdings and member, Technology Group, with MacAndrews & Forbes in New York, where he evaluated education technology companies for potential acquisition or investment.
In 2011, Ellner was the lead strategist for the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) successful effort to win marriage equality in New York. He also created HRC's Americans for Marriage Equality campaign and provided strategic counsel on the 2012 marriage equality wins in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington. Earlier in his career, he was a senior aide in the administration of Mayor Mike Bloomberg, working with the NYC Department of Education to transform public education. After graduating from Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School, he practiced with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and O'Melveny & Myers.
In 2018, Ellner was named to City & State New York’s Pride Power 50 List of the 50 people in New York’s LGBT community who are key players in the world of New York politics and government. In 2015, Ellner was awarded ADCOLOR’s Advocate of the Year.
“We are living in a moment where corporations are expected not only to manage their businesses but also to take decisive action on subjects of importance to their key stakeholders and serve a social purpose for the communities in which they operate,” said Ellner. “I look forward to bringing my experience in reputation, policy and social impact to BCW’s clients and to helping them turn action into growth.”
AJ Jones takes on the role of Executive Vice President, Global Public Affairs Solutions, leading the firm’s Public Affairs & Crisis Practice in the U.S. Before joining BCW, AJ served in three roles at the WK Kellogg Foundation, as Senior Policy Advisor, Chief Policy and Communications Officer and Chief of Staff. In those roles, he led the organization’s internal and external communications, thought leadership, executive positioning, investment launches, public-private partnerships and public policy initiatives. He reported to the President and CEO and served as a key spokesperson on behalf of the organization’s domestic and international investments. Jones currently leads clients and teams across the U.S.