By Rich Kirchen – Senior Reporter, Milwaukee Business Journal
H. Carl Mueller, whose public relations firm represents such high-profile clients as Aurora Health Care and the Milwaukee Brewers, is transitioning leadership to longtime employees Lori Richards and James Madlom.
Mueller, 70, will remain with Mueller Communications Inc. as chairman and CEO but reduce his day-to-day involvement.
Richards, 35, is the 18-employee firm’s new president and joined Mueller in 2002. Madlom, 38, is chief operating officer and has been with the firm since 2005.
“My goal is to stay as involved as they want me to and keep (the firm) going and keep it growing,” Mueller said.
Before entering the public relations field, Mueller worked as a newspaper reporter and editor, was an aide to Democratic politicians and served as assistant chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In the early 1990s, Mueller partnered in public relations with Evan Zeppos, who left the fold in 1994, and Jeff Remsik, whom Mueller bought out in 1997.
Richards and Madlom are the first shareholders besides Mueller in his namesake firm, based in a historic building he owns at 1749 N. Prospect Ave. on Milwaukee’s east side. Mueller said he will transition ownership over the next three to five years.
The new shareholders and Mueller are well aware of the challenges in a succession plan for a PR agency with a well-known founder.
“We understand these are big shoes to fill,” Richards said. “We’ve got the right foundation and the right mentor to help us through.”
Recent new client additions include Meijer Inc. stores, Chick-fil-A and Kimberly-Clark Corp., Mueller said.
This piece was previously published in Milwaukee Business Journal.