In 1975, Penn founded Penn and Schoen, a global market research firm with his Harvard roommate, Doug Shoen, at the offices of the Harvard Crimson.
Penn has grown and scaled companies: over three decades, under Penn’s leadership, the firm expanded to 200+ people with offices around the world.
In 2001, Mark Penn and his partners sold PSB to WPP, one of the largest global holding companies for communications and public opinion firms.
In 2006, Penn was named Worldwide CEO of Burson-Marsteller, a global PR and public affairs firm in 80 global markets. He tripled profits while winning numerous accolades such as the covered Holmes Report North American Agency of the Year Award. Penn Shoen & Berland and Burson Marsteller combined accounted for nearly $100M in EBITDA under his management.
After nearly two decades working with Microsoft as a client, in 2012 Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer asked Penn to lead a team to revitalize Bing, the company’s search engine.
The role expanded, developing the famous “Scroogled” campaign, followed by running Microsoft’s $2B advertising budget. During that time, Penn conceived of and lead successful initiatives like Microsoft’s “Honestly” campaign and the award-winning Super Bowl 2014 ad “Empowering Us All”.
In 2015 he launched the Stagwell Group, a portfolio of marketing services agencies that is “out to reinvent the holding company”.
He also spends time sharing his knowledge and giving back – Penn provides leadership to a broad group of organizations including CSIS’ Commission on Countering Violent Extremism and George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. He also teaches at Harvard University.
Mark is also involved with other initiatives, like No Labels and mTailor. Both are the result of his entrepreneurial spouse and family. mTailor was founded by Penn’s son, Miles, and is a popular custom men’s suit and clothing app, effectively replacing the need for tailoring and bringing it online and on to mobile.
No Labels is the brainchild of Penn’s wife, democratic fundraiser Nancy Jacobson. No Labels is “a group of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents dedicated to a simple proposition: “We want our government to work again.“
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