Fred Cook

Chairman, Golin;
Professor, USC

Fred Cook has worked at Golin for 30 years. He started as an account supervisor in the Los Angeles office and moved to Chicago 13 years ago to become Golin’s third CEO. Fred credits the company culture for his long tenure with the firm. He spends a lot of time visiting Golin offices around the globe and is constantly impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of the team.

60 years ago, Al Golin founded the company based on a few simple Midwestern values — humility, hard work and trust. Fred works to preserve those values because they are critical to the people, the clients and the future of the firm.

Fred is proud of the firm’s accomplishments, but he is even more excited about the future. The world is experiencing profound changes in demographics, globalization, multiculturalism and technology which are impacting the way people communicate with each other. To stay ahead of their changes, four years ago, Golin completely redesigned the agency by adopting a proprietary business model called g4, to deliver deeper insights, bigger ideas and broader engagement to their clients. They replaced the traditional hierarchal agency structure with four communities of specialists, including explorers, creators, connectors and catalysts, who are embedded in every account. Since that time, Golin has been named ‘Agency of the Year’ more than a dozen times.

In 2014, Cook published “Improvise – Unorthodox Career Advice from an Unlikely CEO,” which shares the wisdom he gained as a cabin boy on a Norwegian tanker, doorman at a 5-star hotel and chauffeur for drunks. In 2015, after speaking on college campuses around the world, Fred accepted a position with the University of Southern California as the Director of the USC Center for Public Relations at the Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism. He is also a professor of professional studies.