Abernathy MacGregor promotes Johnson to CEO

New York-based Abernathy MacGregor, a strategic and financial communications advisory firm, has promoted Tom Johnson as CEO. The appointment became effective January 1, 2016. Johnson, who had previously been the firm’s co-president and M&A head, succeeds James Abernathy who was CEO since co-founding Abernathy MacGregor with James MacGregor in 1984. Prior to joining Abernathy MacGregor, Johnson worked at Reuters, where he was editor-in-charge of the North American investment banking and finance desk and had previously run the M&A and IPO desks.


NEW YORK, January 4, 2016 – Abernathy MacGregor, one of the leading strategic and financial communications advisory firms in the world, today announced that Tom Johnson, most recently the firm’s Co-President and Head of M&A, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer effective January 1, 2016. He succeeds James Abernathy, who has been the firm’s sole Chief Executive Officer since he founded the firm with James MacGregor in 1984. Chuck Burgess, President, and Carina Davidson, Chief Operating Officer, continue in their respective leadership positions. Ian Campbell and Mr. MacGregor also remain in their roles as Vice Chairmen.

Mr. Abernathy, who becomes Executive Chairman, commented: “Building Abernathy MacGregor into one of the world’s pre-eminent communications advisory firms has been one of my life’s greatest accomplishments. I am tremendously proud of what we have achieved over 32 years and I am grateful to our clients, employees, partners and families who have had a hand in turning this firm into what it is today.

“I am truly excited about naming Tom as my successor. He embodies our culture and collective drive to help our clients succeed. With Tom as CEO, we have the right leadership to ensure that our firm remains at the forefront of an exciting and dynamic industry. Last year was the most successful year in our history, and I believe our best days are yet to come. Tom, with the support of Chuck and Carina, will lead Abernathy MacGregor to even greater heights.”

Mr. Johnson said: “It is a humbling experience to succeed a true legend in our field and I am thankful for Jim’s trusted counsel and support since I joined the firm over 10 years ago. Thanks to both Jim Abernathy and Jim MacGregor, corporate leaders around the world have relied on our firm for more than three decades to navigate incredibly complex situations. Their philosophy of putting a client’s business objectives at the heart of any situation we tackle has created a foundation for success centered on trusted counsel, the highest quality work and a powerful entrepreneurial spirit – all of which we will build on for many years to come.

“I am excited to partner with Chuck, Carina and Ian and all of the talented senior leaders and other employees of our firm, who have worked so hard to make our success possible. We have great things ahead of us – guided by our unwavering commitment to our clients and always placing their interests first.”

In addition to his current firm and client responsibilities, Mr. Burgess will also oversee and manage several special projects for Abernathy MacGregor, while Ms. Davidson will continue to serve as a senior advisor to clients and oversee certain firm operations and programs. In his role as Executive Chairman, Mr. Abernathy will continue to engage in client work and advise on certain firm-related matters. Mr. Abernathy will also continue to serve as Chairman of AMO, the leading global partnership of communications consultancies, of which Abernathy MacGregor is a founding member.

Mr. Johnson, 43, joined Abernathy MacGregor in 2005 from Reuters, where he was Editor-in-Charge of the North American Investment Banking and Finance desk and had previously run the M&A and IPO desks. Earlier, he worked at CNN Financial News and at The Daily Record newspaper in Baltimore. He serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Volunteers of America’s Greater New York Chapter. He will continue to oversee Abernathy MacGregor’s M&A practice. In this capacity, he is a senior advisor to public companies engaged in friendly and unsolicited transactions. He also advises corporations facing activist shareholders and dealing with crises that threaten their reputations and valuations.

Prior to co-founding Abernathy MacGregor, Mr. Abernathy spent a decade at American Broadcasting Companies (ABC), the last three years as vice president of corporate affairs, with responsibility for all of ABC’s corporate public relations. Mr. Abernathy, who began his career as an editor of several broadcasting trade publications, previously spent two years as vice president for public and investor relations of Warner Communications Inc., and six years as a public relations and investor relations executive at CBS Inc. He is the former chairman of The Caron Foundation of New York City, current trustee emeritus of Hackley School and current director of The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

About Abernathy MacGregor
Abernathy MacGregor (www.abmac.com) is a strategic and financial communications advisory firm with more than 30 years of experience advising U.S. and international organizations. Abernathy MacGregor specializes in counseling boards of directors and senior executives of public and private corporations in the following six disciplines: corporate and financial communications; investor relations and shareholder activism; transaction communications; crisis management; initial public offerings; and corporate restructurings and bankruptcy. The firm helps its clients attract investors, complete transactions, resolve crises, prevail on public issues, retain customers and motivate employees. Abernathy MacGregor offers its clients diverse and pertinent experience, relationships that matter and ideas that work. The firm is based in New York with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston. Abernathy MacGregor, which is part of HAVAS, is a founding member of AMO, the premier global network of financial and strategic communications firms (www.amo-global.com).