They came from different backgrounds. They represented a broad range of interests and beliefs. But in 1946, at a time when public relations was still a new profession, Al Fleishman and Bob Hillard came together with a singular purpose: to shape the business model, values and culture of what is today one of the world’s largest communications firms.
Renting three rooms above Woolworth’s Five & Dime, Fleishman-Hillard & Associates begins, with Al Fleishman, Bob Hillard and the associate – a secretary. Photo: Missouri History Museum, St. Louis
From the company’s inception in a tiny office in St. Louis, Missouri, the founders’ top priority was a commitment to their clients and to excellence — a promise the agency continues to keep today. In 1974, John Graham was named president. A true industry pioneer, Graham transformed FleishmanHillard into a leading, prestigious global agency with offices across six continents. After an unprecedented 32-year run, Graham named Dave Senay as the firm’s president and CEO. That role passed again to John Saunders in 2015. Today, with 80+ offices in 30 countries, FleishmanHillard is widely recognized as a global leader in the communications industry.


Notable Dates – 1946-2

Following WWII, former Pentagon employee Al Fleishman reaches out to his writer friend and Navy veteran Bob Hillard.

1946 Notable Dates – 1946

The new company reveals its first logo.

1953 Notable Dates – 1953

Emerson Electric becomes a major client, a relationship that continues to this day.

1958 Notable Dates – 1958

Imaginary employee Albert Cringely is created to help with internal communications, leading to Memo From Albert, the company’s first staff newsletter, which ran through 1973.

1966 Notable Dates – 1966

FleishmanHillard hears the best news releases in town are coming from local YMCA PR director John Graham, who is hired by the agency as a consultant.

1975 Notable Dates – 1975

The agency's total employees tops out at 30, a number that now eclipses 2,500.

1977 Notable Dates – 1977

FleishmanHillard handles efforts for the St. Louis visit of 28-year-old Charles, Prince of Wales. The one-day stop was part of the Prince’s 12-city tour of the U.S.

1984 Notable Dates – 1984

Dave Senay is hired as an account executive. In 2006, Senay was named CEO, only the third in the agency’s history.

1987 Notable Dates – 1987

FleishmanHillard establishes its London office, the first outside of the U.S.

1994 Notable Dates – 1994

The agency opens an office in Beijing, its first in Asia Pacific.

1997 Notable Dates – 1997

FleishmanHillard joins the Omnicom family, which includes Porter Novelli and Ketchum, for an estimated $100 million.

1999 Notable Dates – 1999

The agency helps organize the visit of Pope John Paul II to St. Louis, beginning the festivities with a youth walk from the Arch grounds.

2003 Notable Dates – 2003

FleishmanHillard contributes to the launch of the 2003 Special Olympics in Dublin, the first Special Olympics held outside the U.S.

2007 Notable Dates – 2007

AT&T introduces the iPhone, with the help of FleishmanHillard.

2009 Notable Dates – 2009

FleishmanHillard opens its first Middle East offices, establishing a presence in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

2013 Notable Dates – 2013

The agency's first major brand refresh in 23 years, including a completely redesigned logo, is launched.

2014 Notable Dates – 2014

FleishmanHillard is named PRWeek's inaugural Global Agency of the Year.

2015 Notable Dates – 2015

John Saunders becomes the fourth CEO in FleishmanHillard's history, and the first to hail from outside the U.S.

2016 Notable Dates: FH70

FleishmanHillard celebrates its 70th anniversary with FH4Inclusion, a global initiative to provide $2M in pro bono work to support social inclusion.