LONDON – September 12, 2016 – The Arthur W. Page Society has selected Ray Kotcher, non-executive chairman of Ketchum and professor of the practice at Boston University's College of Communication, as the 2016 inductee to the Page Society Hall of Fame. Kotcher was formally inducted last night at the 33rd Page Society Annual Conference in London.
Induction to the Page Society Hall of Fame recognizes the lifetime achievement of men and women with careers of distinguished leadership in corporate communications and public relations. Inductees' accomplishments include having significant, positive influence on the enterprise, on communications and business issues, major contributions to the profession, a strong commitment to the Page Principles, and a history of recognition by their peers. The most recent inductees are Björn Edlund of Royal Dutch Shell (retired), Richard Edelman of Edelman and Nicholas Ashooh of APCO Worldwide.
During his acceptance remarks, entitled "This is Our Time," Kotcher reflected on the development of the discipline and looked out at the years to come. "For more than a century, all of us in this industry – agencies, clients and educators - working together around the world, through mutuality of endeavor, defined a new industry." He continued, "We have come far. Yet much remains to be done to realize the opportunity that awaits us. Let all of us remain committed to our common interests and leverage our collective strength with the spirit of community that brought us to today."
Kotcher went on to emphasize, "We will not realize our great purpose without the human resource – talent. Talent with the right skills and importantly, character." He added, "Character counts. A strong sense of integrity must be the core value of our work. We must do it right – with verity, credibility, truthfulness. High standards must remain our guiding principles. For us and those to come, this is the clear path to continued, sustainable success for our great profession.
Please click here for a copy of the complete acceptance remarks delivered by Kotcher during the awards ceremony.
Kotcher spent 32 years at Ketchum, 12 of them as Global CEO and eight as president before that. He oversaw the expansion of the firm's global client service footprint and helped broaden and deepen Ketchum's offerings. During his tenure, he also strengthened the agency's corporate practice, client service proposition, inculcated new approaches to program development and enriched the agency's own social responsibility activities.
His counsel—in collaboration with some of the best CCOs in the business—elevated the importance of reputation in major companies. For example, he worked as part of Ketchum's FedEx team. Together, FedEx and Ketchum developed reputation metrics that became a component of the incentive program for FedEx's top executives. They identified the key reputation drivers and then activated an ongoing program to drive improvement that was precisely measured every year. Kotcher also brought the same focus and systematic approach to reputation in his counsel with Hyundai, which over 15 years went to the top of the quality ratings and became one of the fastest-growing car companies during the recent Great Recession. Additionally, he also guided the firm to provide clients with breakthrough ideas that earned numerous industry accolades, including several PRWeek and SABRE awards, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Silver Anvils, as well as Cannes Lions for work done with clients such as MasterCard, Frito-Lay, Michelin, IKEA and Pfizer.
"Over the course of his career, Ray was never satisfied with the status quo. He continually reinvented himself and the agency he led," said Dave Samson, general manager of public affairs for Chevron Corporation and chairman of the Arthur W. Page Society. "As a result,
Ray firmly established himself as one of our profession's great leaders and Ketchum as one of the world's leading consultancies. I can think of no one more deserving of this extraordinary honor."
Rob Flaherty, partner, chairman and CEO of Ketchum, a Page trustee and Kotcher's long-time colleague and friend, added, "After nearly thirty years of working closely with Ray, I can attest that no one has more of a passion for our business or more dedication to doing the right thing than Ray Kotcher. Whether it was the counsel he gave our senior clients or the countless decisions he made at Ketchum, he was always focused on landing on the choice that was right and would stand the test of time."
In thanking the Page Honors Committee and trustees for the recognition Kotcher said, "I am humbled to stand alongside past Hall of Fame inductees – trailblazers and pioneers, giants of public relations and communications. It is the greatest honor of my professional life."
Kotcher has spent his career raising the standard and stature of the practice of public relations through his engagement with several industry organizations, including the Council of Public Relations Firms (now the PR Council), the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) and the PRSA. He also has served on the executive committee and board of trustees of the Page Society and chaired the Society's membership committee during the period of Page's greatest membership growth, advocating passionately for the diversity and quality of the membership. He recently stepped down from his senior executive position at Ketchum, but remains in an advisory capacity with the firm as non-executive chairman. Kotcher begins teaching full-time at Boston University as a professor of the practice of public relations this month.
Induction into the Arthur W. Page Society's Hall of Fame recognizes men and women whose esteemed careers have taken them to the summit of the public relations field. Created in 1984, the annual induction honors a leading senior level practitioner for career achievement and outstanding contributions to the profession. Inductees into the Hall of Fame have demonstrated a strong commitment to the Page Principles throughout their careers, thereby contributing to the advancement of the role of the chief communications officer (CCO).
The Arthur W. Page Society is a professional association for senior public relations and corporate communications executives who seek to enrich and strengthen their profession. Membership consists primarily of CCOs of Fortune 500 corporations, the CEOs of the world's largest public relations agencies, and leading academics from top business and communications schools. With more than 700 members in over 20 countries, the Page Society enables members to develop professional relationships with the most knowledgeable, influential and innovative global leaders in enterprise communications. Members also participate in producing thought leadership that is shaping the understanding of the value and role of corporate communications, and are able to take advantage of professional development opportunities for their staff. The Page Society is dedicated to strengthening the enterprise leadership role of the CCO. For more information, please visit www.awpagesociety.com.