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Franco Names Internal Leaders to CEO, President Roles

Kozak and Benvenuti Sullivan lead team toward 2025 strategic vision

DETROIT (Jan. 26, 2021) – Franco, a Detroit-based integrated communications agency, is moving closer to its 2025 strategic vision with two key executive appointments.

  • Tina Kozak is promoted to chief executive officer (formerly Franco’s president)
  • Tina Benvenuti Sullivan is promoted to president and chief operating officer (formerly executive vice president and COO)

Kozak will become the third person, and the first woman, to serve as CEO of the 57-year-old Detroit-based 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,” said 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.”

Founded in Detroit in 1964, Franco is rooted in PR, and has evolved over five plus decades to remain at the forefront of a changing industry. Franco now operates as an integrated communications agency that builds strategic programs for B2B and B2C clients in a variety of industries with a local, national and global reach.

As CEO, Kozak will lead Franco in its values, culture and vision. She 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 Franco in 2007, Kozak has led the agency to double-digit growth in revenue and employment, expanded service offerings and worked to purposefully enhance the company’s culture. Prior to joining Franco, Kozak served as the global communications manager at auto supplier Metaldyne Corp. (now part of American Axle). Kozak chairs the board of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce Foundation. She is a member of the Life Remodeled Business Advisory Committee and serves as a business coach and mentor with Michigan Women Forward. She is an active member of PRSA Detroit, the Detroit Economic Club, Automotive Press Association and Inforum.

Kozak graduated from Wayne State University with degrees in Spanish and public relations. She is a graduate of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Leadership Detroit XXXIII and a Crain’s Detroit Business 40 under 40 honoree.

She lives in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan with her husband and two daughters.

As president, Benvenuti Sullivan will ensure operational excellence for employees, clients and the agency. She will oversee Franco’s leadership team, direct talent development and support the firm’s scalability and expansion efforts.

Since joining Franco in 2011, Benvenuti 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 Franco, Benvenuti Sullivan worked as corporate communications manager for Chrysler Group LLC, communications director for Automotive Youth Education Systems and managing director for Eview 360. She started her career serving clients in the automotive industry at Bianchi PR.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts 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 (APA) and Automotive Public Relations Council (APRC).

Benvenuti Sullivan resides in Troy, Michigan with her husband and two daughters.

Ponder joined Franco in 1985 and has served in the role of CEO since 1996. He is credited with fostering the agency’s continued profitability and developing the caring culture that is the backbone of Franco’s people-powered approach to client service. In his role as chairman, Ponder will maintain responsibility for the company’s stakeholder relations, strategic alliances and overall performance. He will continue to be an active part of the Franco team, while focusing less on the day-to-day programming of the agency.

Ponder has been honored for his business and community leadership with many awards and recognitions, including the Community Leadership Award presented by Crime Stoppers of Michigan (2014); Corporate Hero Award presented by Michigan Youth Appreciation Foundation and Metro Youth Day (2015) and Michigan State University Executive MBA Alumni of the Decade Award (2015).

He holds a Bachelor of Arts in accounting from Michigan State University and an Executive MBA from MSU’s Broad College of Business. He is a graduate of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Leadership Detroit X and the U.S. Army War College National Security Seminar.

Ponder and his wife live in Northville, Michigan.

About Franco
Founded in 1964, Franco is an integrated communications agency that builds strategic programs for B2B and B2C clients in a variety of industries with a local, national and global reach. The company’s integrated programs include a wide range of PR, marketing, digital and creative services. Franco serves organizations in the healthcare, consumer, nonprofit, professional services, automotive and technology industries. Visit www.franco.com to learn more.