— 03.09.17 —

SHS Puts Next Generation Leadership Model in Place

Agency promotes key leaders to c-suite and office leadership.

  • March 9, 2017

SHS Puts Next Generation Leadership Model in Place

Creative agency Sullivan Higdon & Sink (SHS) has announced a new enhanced model of leadership to guide the 45-year-old, employee-owned company that was formerly led by a group of managing partners.

The changes include the promotion of four vice presidents: Tony Robinson is now chief financial officer; Jim Vranicar is chief operating officer; and Lathi de Silva and P. Scott Flemming are now managing directors of the agency’s Wichita, Kan. office. The group was cited for their abilities to influence and grow the SHS business and have been working closely together. All four report to Co-CEOs Ali Mahaffy and John January.

The news follows the February retirement of Rand Mikulecky, the agency’s only remaining managing partner who served the agency for 35 years.

“We’ve been gearing up for this transition for quite some time now. We’re really proud of these four,” said January. “They bring a solid combination of talent that spans business, strategy and creative leadership that will help take us to the next level.”

Mahaffy added that the new leadership model reflects an increased focus on a “one agency” mentality that the two co-CEOs have been building on since being named to their roles in 2015.

“We’re better as one agency versus thinking about SHS in multiple locations in different offices, said Mahaffy. “This model works for what we are today, and it sets up a structure to support our business if we choose to open a full-service hub in Austin, Chicago or wherever the future takes us.”

Mahaffy noted that even with cross-office teams established, visible local leadership is crucial to take care of the firm’s clients and 140 employees.

C-Suite Roles Added

In the former partner model, each of the agency’s offices was more city-centric in thinking. This change allows for a more holistic look at how the firm operates, shares resources and is managed for short- and long-term growth.

Chief Financial Officer Tony Robinson will focus on looking after the financial well-being of the agency as well as lead information technology initiatives, internal and external compliance, risk management, asset and resource management and agency infrastructure.

As chief operating officer, Jim Vranicar will support all employees to ensure SHS remains a great place to work by providing leadership and oversight for operational and human resources initiatives across benefits administration, employee recruitment and training, agency workflow processes and facilities management.

Wichita Office Leadership

Vice Presidents de Silva and Flemming have been promoted to managing directors, taking on the role of leading the day-to-day operations of the 40-person Wichita office.

In addition, both will continue in their cross-office roles providing oversight for each of their areas of expertise. Flemming remains executive creative director for all of SHS. De Silva will maintain leading the reputation management and public relations discipline for the agency.

“This is a pretty exhilarating time for our agency. We talk a lot about being remarkable in the work we do, the people we hire and the way we lead,” said Co-CEO January. “Putting this new executive structure in place clarifies the role we’ll each play to move SHS into the future.”

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