Sullivan & LeShane Public Relations, Inc. (SLPR), which for 30 years has been one of the leading strategic communications and public relations firms in Connecticut, announced new leadership effective January 1, 2019.
Gene Sheehan, the Managing Partner and President since SLPR opened its doors, will be stepping back from managing the day-to-day operations of the business and moving into a new role as Senior Counselor, where he will still remain actively involved with SLPR clients.
SLPR is excited to announce that Brian Flaherty— former Connecticut Deputy House Minority Leader and a longtime strategic communications and government affairs leader in Connecticut—will join the firm as Executive Vice President, while founding co-partner Paddi LeShane, who serves as CEO of SLPR and its sister government affairs company, Sullivan & LeShane, Inc., will continue to serve as CEO of SLPR. Dan Tapper, who has worked in a client services capacity at SLPR since 2007, has been promoted to the role of Senior Accounts Manager.
Mr. Sheehan, dubbed the “PR King” by a prominent Connecticut journalist, founded SLPR with his partners Patrick Sullivan and Paddi LeShane in 1988 after leading the state’s largest advertising firm for several years. He said today that after 30 years at the helm of one of the state’s most respected strategic communications firms, the time is right to move into a more advisory capacity.
“I have put my heart and soul into this business for the past 30 years, and every single day has brought reward and success—I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the finest business, community and media leaders during this time, and I cannot imagine a better way of spending my career,” Mr. Sheehan said. “Our clients understand that I will continue to advise them and work to help tell their stories wherever my assistance is needed. But I am leaving the firm in the talented hands of my longtime business partners Paddi LeShane and Patrick Sullivan, as well as Dan Tapper, Chris Zaccaro and our newest member Brian Flaherty.”
“It has been such an honor to work with Gene for all these years—to collaborate with him and strategize with him on behalf of some of the most important businesses and organizations in the state,” Ms. LeShane said. “I look forward to our continued success together, just in a slightly different capacity. So much has changed on the media landscape since we first commenced operations in 1988—the consolidation of legacy media, the explosive world of digital media and the business climate in Connecticut—but we have the perfect team in place to keep adapting to changes and continuing on the same upwards trajectory.”
Prior to arriving at SLPR, Mr. Flaherty spent the past four years as Senior Vice President of Public Policy for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA), and before that spent 12 years as both a Director and Vice President of External Affairs and Public Policy for Nestle Waters North America in Stamford. He has worked as a communications coordinator for the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA), an editor at Business & Legal Reports, Inc. and a press secretary in the Connecticut General Assembly. For 15 years, he served in the Connecticut General Assembly’s 68th District, rising to the level of Deputy Minority Leader. He lives in Watertown with his wife, Melanie, and their three children.
“The decision to join SLPR is an easy one, and I am thrilled to work with the very best in crisis and strategic communications in Connecticut—the opportunity to become a part of such a talented group, to serve such top-notch clients and to help grow the business is incredibly exciting for me. I have been friends with the folks at SLPR for a long time, and together we will make a great team,” Mr. Flaherty said. “It’s only fitting that after talking repeatedly at CBIA about the need to grow businesses in Connecticut, that I go out and do it myself by joining the SLPR team.”