Franco Names Internal Members to CEO, President Roles

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Tina Kozak
Tina Kozak // Photo courtesy of Franco

Franco, a Detroit-based integrated communications agency, announced Tina Kozak and Tina Benvenuti Sullivan to two executive appointments.

To move closer to its 2025 strategic vision, Kozak, formerly Franco’s president, will serve as CEO, and Sullivan, formerly executive vice president and COO, will serve as president and COO. Kozak will become the third person and the first woman to serve as CEO of the 57-year-old firm.

Dan Ponder, who has held the chief executive role since 1996, will continue as an active chairman and remain the firm’s majority shareholder.

“Tina and Tina have led Franco’s evolution from a more traditional PR firm to an integrated communications agency by investing in new talent and services to keep us ahead of clients’ needs,” says Ponder. “For the past several years, we’ve worked together as an executive leadership group to define strong values, a high-performing team, and a strategic vision. I’m confident they are ready to lead Franco into its next growth phase.”

In Kozak’s new role as CEO, she will lead Franco in its values, culture, and vision and will continue working with clients on strategic planning and crisis management, as well as oversee the company’s branding, marketing, and business development initiatives. Since joining in 2007, she has led the agency to double-digit growth in revenue and employment, expanded service offerings, and worked to enhance the company’s culture.

Prior to joining Franco, Kozak served as global communications manager at auto supplier Metaldyne Corp. She chairs the board of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce Foundation and is a member of the Life Remodeled Business Advisory Committee. She graduated from Wayne State University with degrees in Spanish and public relations, is a graduate of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Leadership Detroit XXXIII.

In Benvenuti Sullivan’s new role as president, she will ensure operational excellence for employees, clients, and the agency. She will oversee Franco’s leadership team and direct talent development while supporting the firm’s scalability and expansion efforts.

Since joining Franco in 2011, Sullivan has led operational improvements and helped expand the agency’s service offerings with an emphasis on larger and more integrated automotive and technology clients. Prior to joining, she worked as corporate communications manager for Chrysler Group LLC, communications director for Automotive Youth Education Systems, and managing director for Eview 360.

Benvenuti Sullivan earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Michigan and is a graduate of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Leadership Detroit XXXVI. She currently serves on the board of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and is an active member of the Automotive Press Association and Automotive Public Relations Council.

Ponder will continue to be an active part of the Franco team, while focusing less on the day-to-day programming of the agency. He remains the firm’s majority shareholder. In his role as chairman, he will maintain responsibility for the company’s stakeholder relations, strategic alliances, and overall performance. He is credited for fostering the agency’s continued profitability and developing the caring culture that is the backbone of Franco’s approach to client service.

Ponder earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Michigan State University and an executive MBA from Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business. He is also a graduate of Detroit Regional Chamber’s Leadership Detroit X and the U.S. Army War College National Security Seminar.

Franco is an integrated communications agency that builds strategic programs for clients in a variety of industries with a local, national, and global reach. Programs include a range of public relations, marketing, digital, and creative services. It serves organizations in the health care, consumer, nonprofit, professional services, automotive, and technology industries.

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