There is one topic I happen to be an expert on — skepticism. I have learned from experience that when you do something new or different, people are cynical. When I met Cheryl at work in our Golin L.A. office, many predicted that our relationship wouldn’t last. We’ve been married for almost 20 years. When I moved to Chicago, some doubted that I was ready to lead this company. I’ve been CEO for 14 years. When we launched g4, our competition (and some of our people) suggested our radical new model wouldn’t work. Five years later, it defines who we are. When we developed the Life Time concept, some speculated we could never pull it off. In April, we revolutionized our industry.
With the announcement of CEO+, we’re again exploring new territory. And many people will be skeptical. In fact, you – reading this – may be thinking this is a crazy idea. But it isn’t crazy. It’s just different. And different works at Golin. And this will work, too.
In partnership with Gary, Matt and Jon, I have been deliberate and purposeful in planning Golin’s future. When you have three individuals who are as talented as these three, allowing them to run our agency together guarantees we will continue to lead.
Some may say, how can Golin – in good conscience – name three white males as their new CEOs? We understand that concern. And while Gary, Jon and Matt are obviously all white males, our leadership team overall is quite balanced. Thirty percent of our Executive Board and fifty percent of our managing director teams are women – including our vice chairman, Ellen Ryan Mardiks and our chief creative officer, Caroline Dettman. That said, we have work to do, and improving our diversity is a top priority for our whole executive leadership team.
I’m sure at other companies, three CEOs would not be the right approach. But we aren’t like other companies. And Gary, Matt and Jon aren’t like other CEOs. They have complementary skills. They respect each other. They’ve worked well together. They’re excited about sharing this role. And I’m going to support them every step of the way.
I know some will have doubts about our new model. That’s natural. We will be working very hard to prove them wrong.