Curtis Freet to Be CEO, Corporate and Political Business; Jon Penn to be CEO, Media and Entertainment Business; and Michael Pettingill Takes on Dual Role of COO/CFO
Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), a global research-based consultancy specialising in message and communications strategy, has named Curtis Freet and Jon Penn Chief Executive Officers of their respective units. Freet will oversee the firm’s global corporate and political business, and Penn will oversee its global media and entertainment business. Both appointments are effective immediately and Freet and Penn will report to the firm’s Chair Donald A. Baer. Baer is also Worldwide Chair and Chief Executive Officer of PSB’s sister strategic communications and public relations firm Burson-Marsteller. Freet will divide the majority of his time between New York and Washington, D.C.; Penn is based in Los Angeles.
Freet and Penn succeed Jay Leveton, who had been CEO since 2012. “Jay has been a great partner in strengthening PSB’s business and expanding its presence globally,” said Baer. “Under Jay’s leadership, PSB has experienced great success building on its history of providing evidence-based, data-driven solutions to major communications and marketing challenges around the world.”
Freet has been with PSB since 2005, most recently serving as President, U.S. He has 20 years of experience in technology marketing, marketing research and product design. His research expertise includes customer segmentation, concept development and testing, value proposition development and testing, and competitive positioning and messaging. Before joining PSB, Freet worked for Microsoft in many capacities, including product support, OEM sales, marketing research, product marketing, product planning and product design.
Penn is Founder and current President of the media and entertainment practice at PSB. Since 2003, he has worked with Hollywood production, marketing and research executives to expand the strategic value of movie-goer research, building one of the most successful and innovative movie-research businesses in the industry. He has developed innovative approaches for Hollywood green-light, franchise management, script positioning, advertising testing and box-office forecasting. He also advises top video game console developers and game publishers on positioning and advertising strategy. Previously, Penn was a contributor and pollster for The Hollywood Reporter and served as Director of Internet Strategy for Hillary Clinton’s successful U.S. Senate campaign in 2000.
Freet and Penn will partner closely with Michael Pettingill who has been named to dual roles as the firm’s Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer. Pettingill has served PSB as its Chief Financial Officer since 2004 and directs the company’s finance, accounting and reporting functions globally and has helped establish PSB’s overseas offices and systems. As COO/CFO, Pettingill will assume responsibility for global operations including business investment and expansion and continued improvement of operating and technical systems. Before joining PSB, Pettingill worked in various industries, including energy and venture capital at AREVA (formerly COGEMA), AES Corporation and Columbia Capital.