Mark Penn’s career spans 40 years in market-research, advertising, public relations, polling and consulting, and he has advised top world leaders, led companies, and written a bestselling book. Currently, Penn is the President and Managing Partner of The Stagwell Group, a private equity fund that invests in marketing services companies and reinvents the traditional holding company model.
Before founding The Stagwell Group, he served in senior executive positions at Microsoft, where as Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, he was responsible for working on core strategic issues across the company, blending data-analytics with creativity to help set the company on a new course.
Penn’s experience in growing, building, and managing agencies is well documented. As the co-founder and CEO of Penn Schoen Berland, a market research firm that he built and sold to communications behemoth WPP, he demonstrated value-creation in a crowded industry, serving clients with innovative techniques from being first with overnight polling to unique ad testing methods used by presidents and major corporations. At WPP, he also became CEO of Burson Marsteller, and managed the two companies to record profit growth during that period.
A globally recognized strategist, Mark has advised corporate and political leaders, both in the United States and internationally. For six years, he served as White House Pollster to President Bill Clinton and was a key adviser in his 1996 re-election, identifying “Soccer Moms” as the key swing vote needed for victory. The Washington Post remarked that no other pollster had ever become “So thoroughly integrated into the policymaking operation” of a presidential administration.
Penn later served as chief strategist to Hillary Clinton in her Senate campaigns and 2008 Presidential campaign, devising her successful NY “upstate strategy” and creating the “3 AM” ad in the 2008 primaries. Internationally, he helped elect more than 25 leaders in the Asia, Latin America, and Europe, including Tony Blair and Menachem Begin.
Penn is also an internationally known thought leader. He authored the 2007 bestselling book “Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes,” and was a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Time.com, POLITICO, and the Huffington Post. In a cover story, Time Magazine called him “Master of the Message.”
Penn earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and attended Columbia Law School. He is a visiting lecturer at Harvard College and a Professorial Lecturer at George Washington University, where he teaches courses on Public Opinion.
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