Ronn Torossian steps down as CEO of 5WPR

The “noise level” exploded only two days later Crain’s published an article on February 16 in which the New York chapter of the Public Relations Society of America called it a “stain on the industry”.

Within days, the Hispanic Public Relations Society condemned him, and days later, Richard Edelman, the CEO of Edelman Public Relations, one of the nation’s largest public relations firms, also issued a scathing condemnation.

A few months prior, Torossian appeared to be riding high, portrayed in some press reports as an “Eric Adams confidante”. While Torossian was never involved in political sessions and was not on the official payroll, he helped introduce Adams to media, sports and entertainment figures in Manhattan while the former chairman of the borough of Brooklyn was mounting its successful campaign for mayor.

Torossian had helped Adams get into the exclusive NoHo Zero Bond members club and secured the mayor-elect publicity to appear there. For a time, it appeared to be Adams’ unofficial transitional headquarters.

But staff members bristled at the outsider who seemed to have the ear of the mayor, especially when it turned out that Torossian was the longtime representative of adult site Pornhub and its parent company, Mind Geek.

A longtime Democratic operative blasted the mayor for dating Torossian and urged him to “get away as quickly as possible.” Adams then canceled a series of fundraisers, including one at Zero Bond hosted by Torossian.

The pressure intensified after the Crain’s A February 16 article revealed that Torossian was cleaning up the Everything-PR site of controversial stories and replaced the names of the bogus journalists who have populated the site since he took over with the anonymous byline “By staff of the EPR” on virtually every story in its archive. .

After New York’s PRSA chapter issued its searing condemnation two days later, Torossian finally admitted – after years of denying he owned the site – that he had in fact bought it in 2014. said it was “misjudgment” to hide his property for almost eight years. He also conceded “ethical misconduct” in the early years of the company’s founding.

Torossian said Friday that if he steps down as CEO, he will remain owner and chairman of 5WPR. Two longtime associates, co-chairmen Dara Bush and Matt Caiola, will become co-CEOs, overseeing day-to-day decisions while he remains founder and chairman.

“I started 5WPR at the age of 28 in December 2002. Today, almost 20 years later, we employ 275 people and are one of the largest and most important PR agencies in the world. ‘America,” Torossian said. “We’ve done a lot of great things together. But I’ve also made a lot of mistakes.”

He also said he had “no interest in selling”.

But some PR pros don’t buy his mea culpa and wonder why he should be allowed to continue profiting from the business.

“Why would an innocent man resign as CEO of the company he founded and led? He wouldn’t,” said Ken Frydman, head of Source Communications, who was criticized in a story by years after beating Torossian. firm for a contract. The original negative story is among those that have been scrubbed from the site in recent weeks.

Aaron Kwittken, founder and chairman of KWT Global, had also been the subject of negative stories on before it was revealed that Torossian owned it.

“The damage is already done,” Kwittken said. “This decision is just a distinction without difference.”

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