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Home Women In Leadership Gail Heimann, CEO of The Weber Shandwick Collective, announces retirement

Gail Heimann, CEO of The Weber Shandwick Collective, announces retirement

Women's Tabloid News Desk
Women's Tabloid News Desk

Gail Heimann, CEO of The Weber Shandwick Collective, will retire from the Interpublic Group PR network in November. She will be succeeded by Susan Howe, currently the agency’s president.

Heimann assumed the role of CEO at Weber Shandwick in July 2019, following Andy Polansky’s promotion to chairman and CEO of IPG’s Constituency Management Group, overseeing the majority of the holding company’s PR firms, including Weber. Before becoming CEO, Heimann served as president of Weber starting in 2013. Polansky retired from Interpublic Group in June 2022.

Polansky, Harris Diamond, Jack Leslie, and Heimann were part of a cohort of senior executives who expanded the Weber Shandwick brand after the merger in the early 2000s of The Weber Group, Shandwick International, and BSMG (formerly Bozell Sawyer Miller Group). With Heimann’s upcoming retirement, all of them will have exited the PR industry by November.

Howe, who has served as president of Weber since June 2021, previously held roles as chief growth officer and chief collaboration officer during her 28-year-plus tenure at the firm. She will remain based in Chicago but continue her frequent travels to New York City and other global regions in her oversight of global operations.

“I’ve been with the company for close to 30 years; Susan has a few decades as well. And we have been working together as partners for the past few years. I feel incredibly good about where The Weber Shandwick Collective is today,” said Heimann when asked why she was choosing to retire. “It’s an extraordinary organization and we’ve had tremendous success in the past few years,” she added. “We’ve had year-on-year growth and we’ve innovated ahead of the industry.”

Heimann will stay on boards and advocate for women, marginalized groups, and the arts. She plans to write a book. Jim O’Leary remains North America CEO, and Michael Frohlich continues as global chief client and transformation officer and EMEA CEO under Howe’s leadership, with no further senior management changes expected.

Howe said, “Gail is a once-in-a-lifetime leader and CEO. One of the things I take away from working with her is her toughness and passion for creativity, no matter what the assignment is. We have transcended PR to be a broader solution for our clients.”

Heimann described the highlight of her career at Weber as “being part of a distinctive culture.” She also shared a client’s challenge: “How do you scale up while maintaining a small-company feel?”

Howe said Heimann “taught her to passionately pursue ideas with a sense of human kindness.”

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