June 21, 2010

Harold Burson's Blog

A B-Mer Who Made It Big Elsewhere

Posted By Harold Burson

Scanning the Business section of The New York Times on Sunday (June 20, 2010) I came across the weekly column titled “THE BOSS” which I usually find interesting. I knew this one would be of special significance when I read the headline “Call of the Circus” while simultaneously recognizing the photo of my former colleague, Daniel Lamarre, though we have not seen one another for 20 years or so. Daniel is Chief Executive Officer of Cirque du Soleil, one of the hottest and most creative of all theatrical-type entertainment groups.

Burson-Marsteller hired Daniel in the early 1980s to open an office in Montreal. Our Toronto office was established in 1958 and, for years, we had failed to capitalize on opportunities in French-speaking Canada. Daniel was working for a local Montreal public relations firm and at age 28 was somewhat younger and less experienced than the person we had instructed an executive search firm to hire. One of his experiences that paralleled my own career was that he worked his way through college writing news for the Canadian Broadcasting Company.

As reported in the article, Daniel left Burson-Marsteller four years later to start National Public Relations which grew to become Canada’s largest. We later merged our Canadian business into National and today hold a significant minority ownership position in the firm.

Since then Daniel has moved further into the limelight – having joined Cirque du Soleil in 2001 and taking on the CEO position in 2004. “Burson-Marsteller was a big breakthrough in my career,” he said in the New York Times article. It taught me a lot about business development, international business, public relations and working with major corporations.”

For me, reading that is as good as it gets.

Link to NY Times article

Harold Burson
June 21, 2010