Professor, Public Relations, College of Communication
As non-executive chairman of one of the world’s largest public relations agencies, Kotcher spends a good deal of his time consulting with staff and clients and assiduously working to advance the industry. He is equally passionate about furthering public relations as a career destination of choice and supporting those just starting out and this autumn will join Boston University’s College of Communication as professor of the practice of public relations In his 2006 commencement speech at that college Kotcher shared his advice for a meaningful career in public relations: Engage your curiosity; never forget your integrity and credibility; develop your voice; foster your creativity; and have passion for what you do. During his 12 years as the global CEO of Ketchum, the firm tripled in size and was twice named PRWeek’s Agency of the Year. Ketchum is now ranked as the fourth-largest PR firm in the world, according to PRWeek and the Holmes Report. With 163 Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Silver Anvils, 50 PRWeek Awards, 14 Cannes Lions, and 154 Holmes Report SABREs, Ketchum is the most decorated agency in the business.
As part of Kotcher’s commitment to furthering the industry, he is engaged in a range of public relations organizations. He served two terms as Chair of the Council of Public Relations Firms where he worked to amplify the voice of PR firms and promulgate the highest standards of practice. During his terms, Kotcher encouraged knowledge-sharing among members by establishing the Council’s online publication, The Firm Voice. He raised the bar for the industry’s leading firms by donating Ketchum’s own proprietary research and best practices, including its ethics training program. He encouraged other member firms to do the same. To ensure the highest ethical standards, Kotcher asked every member to sign the Council’s Statement of Principles, which all did — an industry first.
An advocate for the role of research in the work of public relations, from 1999 to 2007 Kotcher served as a trustee of the Institute for Public Relations. He is a member of the PRSA Foundation’s board of directors, and is passionate about the Foundation’s mission to attract and retain underrepresented minorities to careers in PR. Kotcher also serves ex-officio on the board of the Foundation’s parent organization, the Public Relations Society of America. Kotcher is a member of The Seminar, was a founding member of the College of Charleston Communication Advisory Council, and he has attended the World Economic Forum in Davos as a Ketchum delegate. He also serves on the board of directors of Nile Rodgers’ We Are Family Foundation, a leading nonprofit dedicated to supporting the social responsibility projects of exceptional teens from around the world.
Kotcher is actively involved in the Arthur W. Page Society and has served on the Society’s executive committee, board of trustees, and as chair of the membership committee.
For a number of years, Kotcher has been included on PRWeek’s Power List, a ranking of the top 50 most important leaders in the public relations industry. In November 2015, Kotcher was inducted into the International Communications Consultancy (ICCO) Hall of Fame. In 2014, the Institute for Public Relations honored Kotcher with the Alexander Hamilton Medal for lifetime contribution to the public relations profession, and in 2013 he was named to the PR News Hall of Fame. In 2012, Kotcher received the PRSA Gold Anvil, the Society’s highest individual honor for lifetime achievement, and was inducted into the PRSA College of Fellows. In 2011, he received the Holmes Group’s SABRE Individual Achievement Award. In 2010, he served as chairman of the CLIO jury on strategic communications/public relations. Kotcher also has been twice honored by Boston University — once as a distinguished alumnus of the University and once by the College of Communication. He also serves on that College’s advisory board.
Perhaps most importantly, Kotcher believes in the importance of character and integrity in our lives and in our work.