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CEO takes the reins of USC’s Strategic Public Relations Center

It’s the first time the center has been led by a standing chief executive officer

by USC Annenberg staff

Fred Cook, the CEO of Golin, one of the world’s largest public relations agencies, has been named the director of the Strategic Communication and Public Relations Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Cook will also become a professor in PR studies, focusing on innovation and leadership.

“This is the first time USC Annenberg has had an active CEO as center director,” said School of Journalism Director Willow Bay. “We look forward to him bringing his passion for the communication industry to one of the nation’s most dynamic PR programs.”

Cook will continue in his role at Golin, where he oversees the agency’s growth, global expansion and business transformation.

“I’m looking forward to applying what I’ve learned in the agency world at a prestigious school like USC Annenberg,” Cook said. “I’m very impressed by their faculty, their vision and their ambition.”

The value of PR

The Strategic Communication and Public Relations Center advances the study, practice and value of the public relations profession by conducting practical, applied research in partnership with other organizations.

One of the center’s signature efforts is the biennial Generally Accepted Practices Study, which provides senior communicators with timely guidance as they manage their organizations, develop strategy and prepare for the future. The center also focuses on leadership training and career development for communicators.

CEO Fred Cook

Golin CEO Fred Cook (Photo/Logan Futej)

“Fred’s track record and commitment to constant innovation during this dynamic era matches our own,” said USC Annenberg Dean Ernest J. Wilson III.

Under his leadership, Golin has been voted agency of the year more than a dozen times, and Cook has been named one of the most powerful people in public relations. Four years ago, Cook replaced Golin’s traditional hierarchical structure with a radical new model called g4, where communities of specialists deliver insights, ideas, engagement and integration to their clients.

“Fred has never been one to accept ‘business as usual’ in life or at work,” said Al Golin, founder and chairman of Golin. “His new relationship with USC Annenberg offers him another interesting challenge, which will allow everyone at USC Annenberg and Golin to benefit from his vision and leadership.”

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CEO takes the reins of USC’s Strategic Public Relations Center

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