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Opinion
Chris Hughes

Post #MeToo, There’s No Hiding Offensive Conduct

Declan Kelly’s resignation from public relations consultancy Teneo followed the inevitable leak of inappropriate behavior at a charity event.

Declan Kelly was co-founder, chief executive officer and chair of Teneo.

Declan Kelly was co-founder, chief executive officer and chair of Teneo.

Photographer: Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Of all industries, it happened to be public relations. The boss of Teneo Holdings LLC this week quit the consultancy firm he co-founded after revelations he got drunk and acted inappropriately at a charity event. The episode underscores how the unacceptable behavior of powerful leaders is nowadays likely to hit the public domain when once it might have stayed secret. There are also implications for the governance of entrepreneurial firms backed by private equity.

Declan Kelly was the driving force behind Teneo, a highly successful disruptor in its field. Armed with political savvy and influence, he started the firm in 2011 with a small but high-quality roster of U.S. clients reputedly paying far higher fees than the industry average. This grew into a global multi-disciplinary advisory shop, diversifying its offering through organic expansion and acquisitions.