Penn Schoen Berland Announces Global Leadership Changes

Curtis Freet to Be CEO, Corporate and Political Business

Jon Penn to be CEO, Media and Entertainment Business

Michael Pettingill Takes on Dual Role of COO/CFO

Jul 21, 2015, 09:35 ET from Penn Schoen Berland (PSB)

NEW YORK, July 21, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), a global research-based consultancy specializing in message and communications strategy, announced today that Curtis Freet and Jon Penn have been named 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. We are grateful for Jay's service and wish him continued success."

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. Freet earned an M.A. in Economics from the University of Washington.

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 Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer, 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. He is a CPA and earned his undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech.

"Curtis and Jon are expertly positioned to lead PSB's corporate, political and entertainment businesses," Baer said. "A decade-long PSB leader, Curtis is well-versed in the firm's strengths, and he and I share a clear vision for its growth. He is one of the world's experts in applying hard data and evidence to drive communications programs, and I am confident he will build on PSB's record as an innovator in the sector.

"Jon has been a pioneer in entertainment polling and a critical partner to many Hollywood studios and executives in modernizing movie research," Baer added. "Since its founding and under his leadership, PSB's media and entertainment business has grown to become among the most respected entertainment polling consultancies in the industry. I am grateful for Jon's passion and strategic guidance in building this business from the ground up, and look forward to its continued growth under his stewardship.

"Mike has long been a backbone of PSB's operating performance," Baer continued. "The depth of his operating and financial expertise is truly impressive and will enable everyone at PSB to continue its strong momentum. I look forward to seeing him take on an even larger role at the firm and to his continued partnership."

About Penn Schoen Berland
Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), a unit of WPP, is a global research-based consultancy that specializes in messaging and communications strategy for blue-chip political, corporate, and entertainment clients. PSB has over 40 years of experience in leveraging unique insights about consumer opinion to provide clients with a competitive advantage – what it calls Winning Knowledge. PSB executes polling and message testing services for Fortune 100 companies and has helped elect more than 30 presidents and prime ministers around the world. For more information, please visit

About Burson-Marsteller
Burson-Marsteller, established in 1953, is a leading global public relations and communications firm. It provides clients with strategic thinking and program execution across a full range of public relations, public affairs, reputation and crisis management, advertising and digital strategies. The firm's seamless worldwide network consists of 73 offices and 84 affiliate offices, together operating in 110 countries across six continents. Burson-Marsteller is a unit of WPP, the world's leading communications services network. For more information, please visit


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