Disgraced CEO whisperer Declan Kelly — who has pegged his return from exile on the horns of the GOAT — has a steep hill to climb to completely rehabilitate his picture after his spectacular downfall as boss of public relations large Teneo, individuals near the PR whiz informed The Put up.
The previous Clinton fixer and adviser to Fortune 500 titans resigned as Teneo’s CEO over sexual misconduct final yr.
He had gotten drunk at a VIP fund-raiser thrown by anti-poverty charity International Citizen in Los Angeles on Could 2, 2021, and, according to sources, inappropriately touched as many as six employees on the star-filled gala.
Kelly, 54, acknowledged the incident as an “inadvertent, public and embarrassing mistake” and added he “apologized to these immediately affected, in addition to [to] my colleagues and shoppers” however he nonetheless left the agency he based in 2011.
He returned to his native Eire for just a few months and frolicked with household, a supply with data informed The Put up.
“He fled the nation, he was so embarrassed in regards to the Teneo ouster,” the supply added.
By July, he arrange his subsequent enterprise, The Consello Group, in response to public filings. He has since returned to the US and final month made a splash with the announcement that seven-time Tremendous Bowl winner Tom Brady, the NFL’s Biggest Of All Time, will be a part of his nascent consulting agency as a companion.
Bringing in Brady
Individuals who know Kelly say they aren’t stunned he would goal somebody with main star energy like Brady to guide his comeback, given Kelly’s playbook is to recruit eye-popping names to his agency.
In line with a supply, Kelly emphasised his new enterprise would concentrate on crypto — one in all Brady’s most important pursuits. Brady and supermodel spouse Gisele Bündchen personal a stake in crypto buying and selling behemoth FTX; Brady additionally began NFT platform Autograph.
“Kelly is the perfect at determining what individuals wish to hear and exploiting it. He can lure anybody in,” a supply who used to work with Kelly informed The Put up.
A spokesperson for Brady declined remark.
Regardless of the addition of Brady, Kelly’s former staff warn his habits when he first began Teneo might come again to hang-out him.
“Within the early days of Teneo, he inspired sure staff to name him daddy,” one former staffer informed The Put up.
“He guidelines by concern,” one other former worker stated. This supply provides Kelly informed drivers to not communicate to him.
Kelly would additionally attempt to undertaking a persona of somebody who had pulled himself up from his personal bootstraps — and relied on anecdotes he believed staff would discover compelling, sources stated.
“In any respect workers shows, he would use a black-and-white inventory photos of a pair in entrance of a burned down home and say they had been an image of his dad and mom,” a supply stated.
One other supply famous he would speak about his impoverished dad and mom and share odd particulars — he claimed his dad and mom used an outhouse and that his father couldn’t learn till he was 40.
“I spoke with individuals who knew Declan in Eire and so they all knew him to be solidly center class,” one other supply provides. “However Declan didn’t let fact get in the way in which.”
Kelly refused requests for remark from The Put up.
Kelly, who had deep political ties and was capable of nab Invoice Clinton and former Prime Minister Tony Blair for his Teneo board, beforehand peddled entry to essential political figures as a part of the explanation he may cost high greenback for his providers. He was even appointed Particular Financial Envoy to Northern Eire by Hillary Clinton in 2009.
The explanation he’s having to convey on athletes, the previous staff added, is as a result of he’s alienated lots of his longtime political allies.
“He pissed the Clintons off,” a former Kelly confidante stated. “They felt used and haven’t spoken in years.”
Neither Invoice nor Hillary Clinton responded to a request for remark.
His connections allowed him to cost remarkable charges within the trade.
Dow Chemical doled out hundreds of thousands, together with a multi-million success payment one yr when firm CEO Andrew Liveris bought three entrance web page covers within the Wall Avenue Journal.
“One yr, Declan put Andrew with Obama 13 instances on stage… that’s the way you get these massive charges,” a supply stated.
One PR trade knowledgeable informed The Put up: “Purchasers paid for pixie mud. I can see how Dow would worth Invoice Clinton getting [Liveris] a gathering however Tom Brady can’t try this,”
What’s stunning trade insiders — maybe much more than a celebrity quarterback approaching board — is that Kelly hasn’t been sued by personal fairness agency CVC that purchased his stake when he was dumped by Teneo.
When he left, Kelly signed a non-compete clause that prohibited him from opening a agency too just like Teneo, sources informed The Put up.
Some sources be aware Kelly is cozy with CVC administration. These sources counsel Kelly should still have a stake in Teneo and will nonetheless be transferring puppet strings behind the scenes.
“He was very strategic about constructing relationships with CEOs and people CEOs will solely work with him and never Teneo,” a supply stated.
CVC is privately owned and doesn’t disclose financials and wouldn’t touch upon whether or not Kelly nonetheless retains a stake in Teneo. Folks near CVC informed The Put up that Teneo’s valuation was roughly $700 million.
Whereas it’s unclear simply why CVC has to this point chosen to not pursue authorized motion towards Kelly’s new agency, some sources informed The Put up it may very well be a sign CVC and Kelly wish to be a part of forces down the road.
CVC declined to remark.
Kelly has additionally added a few of his high shoppers at Teneo to bolster the Consello group. Steve Mollenkopf, former chief government officer at Qualcomm — an organization that labored extensively with Teneo — is a companion on the agency, in response to the corporate’s website.
Kelly Kramer, former chief monetary officer at Cisco — one other longtime Kelly shopper — is a senior advisor.
His outdated agency nonetheless maintains a powerhouse roster, together with Normal Electrical and Coca Cola, however the firm is struggling after Kelly’s departure given most high canines had a relationship with him and never the agency, sources add.
Some individuals near the corporate even speculate the consulting agency might not have the ability to survive for much longer. Ursula Burns — the longtime Xerox CEO who took the helm after Kelly left — is “checked out,” insiders say, and extra targeted on an upcoming transfer than bringing in additional shoppers.
“She did a city corridor assembly with workers who’re involved about departures of shoppers and fellow staff,” a supply informed The Put up. “As an alternative of addressing the problems at hand she talked about her transfer to Florida and incapability to get furnishings attributable to provide chain,” one supply griped.
A supply conversant in Teneo’s internal workings rejected these claims.
“Ursula doesn’t do something lower than 100%. She’s been very lively working with Teneo shoppers and staff.”