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.