November 8, 2017 – Executive search firm Buffkin / Baker has been retained by Madison Square Garden Co. (MSG) to lead the search for its new executive vice president and chief communications officer (CCO). Partner Warren Wasp is spearheading the search along with associate Rachel Jonkers.
The CCO is responsible for all public relations, corporate communications, financial communications, proactive publicity activities and crisis communications efforts for the organization, as well as oversight of the VIP services, corporate events, photography and archives and celebrity relations.
In addition, the executive is in charge of the strategic management of rebranding, recasting and re-engaging in a dialogue with traditional and non-traditional media outlets to enhance MSG and its executives’ image. The incoming leader will also oversee the company’s external communications, including public relations for the sports teams, entertainment and major announcements and crisis planning/execution for senior management, corporate and financial reporting, the search firm said.
The ideal executive for the role will have the ability to build trust and create collaborative environment and relationships, said Buffkin / Baker. Broad knowledge of sports, entertainment, and media is essential. The individual must possess significant skills in public relations, corporate communications, crisis communications and personnel management.
MSG is looking for someone experienced in managing a large, diverse staff in sports, entertainment, media and corporate environments. The person must have a high comfort level with high-profile individuals, situations or issues that may require rapid evaluation and strategic counsel resulting in a significant degree of public scrutiny, said the recruitment firm.
Madison Square Garden Co. is a fully-integrated sports, media and entertainment business. The company has three business segments: MSG Sports, MSG Media and MSG Entertainment. The divisions are aligned to work together to drive the company’s overall business, said Buffkin / Baker, which is built on a foundation of iconic venues and compelling content that the company creates, produces, presents and/or distributes through its programming networks and other media assets.
Growing Search Firm
Buffkin / Baker focuses on identifying leaders for a number of high-growth sectors, including healthcare, higher education, digital media, digital marketing, technology, private club, financial services and non-profit. It serves public, private, venture and private equity-backed companies. Office locations include Nashville, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Winston-Salem, Charleston, and Washington, D.C., with affiliate offices in San Francisco and London.
Buffkin / Baker formed earlier this year with the merger of The Buffkin Group and Baker and Associates, LLC. “Craig and I have known each other for many years and have worked well together both professionally and personally,” said managing partner Martin Baker. “Our common values of delivering a higher level of customer service will help differentiate us in the marketplace, and position us for a bright future.”
In addition, Mr. Wasp joined the firm in May with the merger of New York-based WTW Associates. WTW, a talent provider focused on the media, entertainment, technology and law industries, integrated its operations into the Buffkin / Baker New York office. Mr. Wasp is now a partner in the firm and heads its entertainment/media practice. He has extensive contacts within the entertainment and media industry in New York, Los Angeles and London.
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Chief Communications Officers
The chief communications officer is typically the corporate officer primarily responsible for managing the communications risks and opportunities for a business, both internally and externally. This executive is usually responsible for communications to a wide range of stakeholders, including employees, shareholders, media, bloggers, influential members of the business community, the press, the community, and the public. He or she may partner with others in the organization to communicate with investors, analysts, customers and company board members. Most organizations will rely on the communications officer to advise and participate in decisions that may impact the ongoing reputation of the firm.
Qualifications for the role typically include communications experience with multiple stakeholder groups. Early experience may include journalism, work in a public relations agency or an MBA-type background in strategy or business development. In many cases, the communications officers will need to assume responsibility for plans and outcomes that are the result of actions by persons throughout the organization.
Most organizations today rely on the chief communications officer to advise and participate in decisions that may impact the ongoing reputation of the firm. According to a recent report by Korn Ferry, 46 percent of chief communications officers report to the CEO, while 14 percent report to a chief administrative officer and 10 percent report to a chief marketing officer. It is its growing proximity to the CEO that has this role gaining in influence.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media