by Renee Wilson, Chief Client Officer MSLGROUP and MD, MSL New York
It is with deep sadness that I share the news that Michael Sullivan, our friend and colleague, has passed away.
Michael was an extraordinary public relations practitioner. He was a leader and a member of the executive team at MSL New York and a creative force who was respected across the global MSLGROUP network for having one of our sharpest minds. We offer our prayers and deepest condolences to Michael’s sisters, brother and his broad group of friends and colleagues at MSLGROUP and throughout the PR community. Michael’s time with us and in life was way too short.
As you know, I worked closely with Michael during his time here at MSLGROUP Americas. Michael’s legacy will be his uncanny ability to take the strategic ideation to the highest level. In that process, he pushed us to think bigger. To be bigger. To be the best.
Several years before we hired him, I knew of Michael by reputation from his work on P&G. When Michael started his consultancy, Sullivan Bremmer, Scott Beaudoin introduced him to me. Of course, I jumped at the chance to involve him in our work. Little by little, Michael did more consulting for us in the Consumer Marketing space and we hired Michael in June 2010 as NA Consumer Practice Leader. It was at that time that he started making his mark on our GI brands, and lucky for us, found Denise Vitola and hired her.
Michael changed the game for us in Consumer – he let us know that what we were doing could be so much better. What had been acceptable no longer was, if you were working with Michael. He pushed our teams – HARD. And not everyone liked it, but no one can dispute he made us better public relations strategists. I see his effect on many of you, and it’s inspiring.
Michael brought style, flair and fun to MSLGROUP. From memorable quotes like: “Super fantastic bubble plastic!” to “Ding, ding, ding – you win the ham!,” we will never forget his energy, enthusiasm and passion for PR. When things were going well? “It’s gas and gators.” When things were looking tough? “We’re like water – we find a way.” We will keep his spirit alive when we use Ideahaus, brainstorm and strategize.
In typical Michael style, he posted his “own” version of a favorite quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson on the door of his office that speaks volumes to both his passion for ideas and his eagerness to tweak things in order to make them better.
“The health of the mind seems to demand a horizon;
the eye is never tired that can see far enough.”
As you may know, Michael was getting ready to move to London for a special P&G assignment. In doing this, I knew that he was going to help make MSLGROUP a powerful force in EMEA. By collaborating with Victoria Biggs in London, they would be unstoppable.
Michael was my overall partner on P&G globally. Although we only worked together for a little over a year, I will miss him terribly. If there is one thing Michael would want, it is for us all to have a fabulous party rather than be sad. So whether or not your party is with friends, or you choose to raise a glass on your own in his honor, please look for Michael beyond the horizon. And, make sure you are pouring Veuve Cliquot. Michael wouldn’t have it any other way