Marketing People on the Move

Harte Hanks begins CEO search following abrupt exit of Karen Puckett

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By Bennett Bennett, Staff writer

August 28, 2018 | 3 min read

San Antonio-based agency Harte Hanks announced that Karen Puckett has stepped down as president and chief executive officer.

Harte Hanks | Karen Puckett

Harte Hanks is on the lookout for a new CEO with the exit of Karen Puckett

Puckett, formerly the president of telecom company CenturyLink and board member for the Texas marketing services firm, had joined the global company in 2015.

In the interim, Harte Hanks’ board has created a temporary office in an effort to maintain continuity and strategic direction as it searches for a replacement in what it calls its ‘next phase of growth.’

This CEO-by-committee has been composed of board members Jack Griffin of M&A firm Oakins, DeSilva+Phillips and Martin Reidy of Ansira Partners. Joining them: Harte Hanks executives Jon Biro and Andrew Harrison.

Alfred Tobia, chairmain of the Harte Hanks board, said in a statement: “We would like to thank Karen for working constructively with the reconstituted board to act in the best interests of shareholders and customers. As part of the company’s ongoing effort to ensure world-class leadership, focus on client service and drive profitability, we felt this was the right time to take decisive steps to identify the next generation of leadership for our company,”

Tobia made note of the choppy waters in the ad industry, adding: “With burgeoning M&A in the marketing services space, we believe there are exciting opportunities to help us accelerate growth while building upon the strengths of our full client offering.”

Harte Hanks has serviced brands from its locations in North America, Asia-Pacific and Europe, and its committee of chiefs has been asked to steer the 4,000-staffer company through an industry environment where marketing consultancies are racing towards a potential middle ground for their client partners. Current clients of the firm include Pfizer, IBM, Samsung, JC Penney, Sony and BMW.

Marketing People on the Move

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