Lambert & Co. Elevates Michelle Olson to CEO, Founder Jeff Lambert Transitions to Chairman
Fast-growing public relations, investor relations and integrated marketing firm Lambert & Co. announced today that managing partner Michelle Olson, APR, has been named chief executive officer effective Jan. 1, 2022. Olson, 2021 national chair of Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and a 30-year agency veteran and owner, succeeds founder Jeff Lambert, who will move to chairman and also lead the growing Lambert family of companies.
Olson will assume strategic leadership of the firm, which is ranked in the top 40 PR and top 10 IR firms in the nation. Olson’s responsibilities will include driving client, practice and talent growth, while also managing the agency’s largest client relationships. Don Hunt, a 22-year veteran of the firm, will remain president, where his focus will be agency operations, M&A integration and client satisfaction.
Jeff Lambert will remain the firm’s largest shareholder and continue to lead the consultancy’s vision, new innovation pipeline, and M&A. He will also lean more into the day-to-day leadership of TiiCKER, a fintech startup and shareholder loyalty platform that invented direct-to-shareholder marketing; his non-profit AMERICANTBREATHE.org and consulting work in diversity, equity and inclusion; his board roles, including the firm’s sister ad agency 9thWonder; and his venture capital arm, Flipturn Ventures.
“I’m extremely proud of the firm that we’ve become and the growth that we’ve achieved, including a 50% increase in the last two years,” Lambert said. “However, the only way for our momentum to continue is to scale my time and our top talent. Michelle Olson is the answer. She’s a proven agency CEO, an industry leader, and a trusted friend for over a decade, much like my partner and president Don Hunt. I’m looking forward to Michelle’s handprints on our culture, team and trajectory for years to come and grateful to have colleagues that allow me to create the new and next ideas, services, companies and collaborations.”
Lambert, 50, founded the firm in his basement in 1998 as the nation’s first integrated PR and IR firm and has built on these pillars to become a leading agency nationally, with top-5 rankings in automotive and mobility, education, M&A and private equity, and corporate social responsibility (CSR). The firm has approximately 100 team members and recently closed its eighth acquisition with the addition of fellow PROI Worldwide agency St. Louis-based The Vandiver Group. Lambert will continue to invest in his community and corporate board service, which includes membership chair for YPO Michigan West, Americas Co-Chair for PROI Worldwide, and board member for multiple public and PE-backed companies and non-profits.
“I am honored to take the reins as CEO and honored to lead the firm into its next phase of growth,” Olson said. “Lambert & Co. is driven by brilliant and creative talent and is truly one of the most innovative companies I’ve ever been a part of. As we expand our reach and deepen our practice area experience, I look forward to continuing our work toward the goals that will lead us into the future.”
Olson has more than 30 years’ experience in public relations, corporate communications, issues management, and integrated marketing, serving clients across the U.S. and internationally. Before joining Lambert & Co., she founded and led her own company for 13 years prior to its acquisition by a New York advertising agency where she served on the leadership team for five years. Olson was recognized in 2020 and 2021 as one of PRNews’ Top Women in PR and won a Bronze Stevie Award for 2021 Female Thought Leader of the Year.
In 2021, Lambert & Co. began engagements with clients such as CarLotz (Tii: LOTZ), the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Aqua Leisure, Hella Ventures and Ergomotion, among others. Lambert has taken a proactive approach to achieving its growth objectives during the pandemic, leaning further into services like crisis and reputation, issues and change management, diversity consulting and multi-cultural marketing. The firm posted revenue growth of 30% in 2020, despite the tumultuous marketplace, and is on pace for 20% growth in 2021.