In a restructuring that signals a passing of the torch, Pat Kingsley is relinquishing the title of chair-CEO and taking the new title of nonexecutive chair of top-tier celeb praisery PMK/HBH as of Jan. 1.
Kingsley founded the company in 1980 with Michael Maslansky and Neil Koenigsberg. The agency was acquired by Interpublic Group, which also bought Huvane Baum Halls and merged them in 2001. IPG also bought PR firms Rogers & Cowan and Bragman Nyman Cafarelli, which operate as separate concerns. PMK/HBH saw a split at the top several years ago: Leslee Dart exited when Kingsley wasn’t ready to step aside and formed rival praisery 42 West.
PMK/HBH now has a staff of 105 in New York and L.A., repping a roster of more than 500 clients who include Johnny Depp, Matt Damon, Will Smith, Michael Mann, Jennifer Aniston, Daniel Craig and Rosie O’Donnell, as well as production companies Working Title Films, Ridley Scott and Associates and Tribeca Prods.
Kingsley, who is 75, said she has no plans to retire.
She will continue to work for clients that include Smith, Mann, James L. Brooks, Jodie Foster, Al Pacino and Candice Bergen.
“I’m staying right here; I just don’t have to do the administrative work of running the company,” Kingsley said. “We’re growing into so many areas, our corporate department is exploding, and our movie business has really expanded. I want to work on talent, the thing that got me here.”
At her peak, Kingsley repped Tom Cruise, among many other heavy- hitters. She is known for establishing and enforcing strict ground rules for the media outlets who want access to the agency’s stars. While Kingsley was aware that the magazine editors and others groused about her controlling nature, she has no regrets.
“The idea was always that if we presented something to a member of the press, they could always say no, and so could we,” she said. “It always worked both ways, and I never told a journalist they couldn’t ask a certain question, just that the client had a right not to answer it if it wasn’t in their best interest.”