NEW YORK, July 17, 2019 – BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe), a leading global communications agency, announced today that Harold Burson, Founding Chairman of Burson-Marsteller, a predecessor firm to BCW, is moving from New York to Memphis, where he was born and raised. Burson will maintain his three-days-a-week work schedule and support Burson Cohn & Wolfe’s Memphis business and clients. He will move on July 23.
“I have been working in New York City – which had been my dream as a child – since 1946,” said Burson. “Working and living here is, to my mind, one of the greatest experiences anyone can have. I worked hard, had a lot of luck and have benefitted from having many wonderful colleagues and mentors who contributed to my success.
“Now, 18 months short of my 100th birthday, I am happy to return to my hometown and family and to contribute to Burson Cohn & Wolfe’s Memphis business. I might even enjoy a pace that’s just a little bit slower than that of Manhattan! And I look forward to watching the continued success that Global CEO Donna Imperato and her team are achieving at the firm.”
“Everyone in our industry and beyond, across agencies and throughout the client world, will agree that Harold Burson defines our industry,” said Imperato. “He is a master of influence and a true icon. Harold is an extraordinary business leader and an incredibly kind, generous and worldly man. I am so fortunate to call Harold a mentor and a friend. I will miss seeing Harold in the office, but I know our Memphis colleagues are very excited to have a living legend in their office and he will be just a phone call away.”
Following his discharge from the Army in 1946, where he covered the Nuremberg Trials, Burson opened a public relations firm in New York called Harold Burson Public Relations, specializing in a business-to-business client base. In 1952, a friend at The New York Times, responding to a query from the owner of a Chicago advertising agency, recommended Burson for a Pittsburgh-based project. He met William A. (Bill) Marsteller through this opportunity and they quickly partnered and renamed the firm Burson-Marsteller. He led the firm to greatness and by 1983 Burson-Marsteller had become the largest public relations agency in the world. That same year, Burson-Marsteller purchased Cohn & Wolfe, headquartered in Atlanta, to help service one of its largest clients, Coca-Cola. In 2018, Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe were merged by parent company WPP to create Burson Cohn & Wolfe, known as BCW.