Mark Raper
Mark Raper

Padilla chief counsel officer and former president Mark Raper will retire this month, the agency reported.

As managing partner of Richmond, VA-based ad agency Earle Palmer Brown, Raper in 1996 led a group of employees to purchase EPB’s PR operations to form Carter Ryley Thomas, where Raper was named chairman and CEO. The agency was named after the three principals’ young children, including Mark’s eldest daughter, Carter.

In 2005, Raper led CRT’s acquisition of New York-based consumer PR specialist Patrice Tanaka & Co., forming CRT/tanaka. That agency was acquired in 2013 by Minneapolis-based Padilla Speer Beardsley to form PadillaCRT, where Raper was named president.

Raper began his PR career in the healthcare industry, serving as public relations director of a Charter Medical-owned hospital in Richmond and later, as a marketing and PR director for Sentara Health Systems in Norfolk.

He later held a four-year stint as PR director at Ford & Westbrook, Inc., and three years as corporate communications and marketing manager for conglomerate Figgie International. He joined EPB in 1988.

Padilla in 2016 acquired food and nutrition communications and consulting shop FoodMinds, establishing it as one of the largest independent food and beverage agencies in the country.

Last year, PadillaCRT rebranded as Padilla. Raper stepped down from the role of president and assumed a chief counsel officer position. Matt Kucharski succeeded Raper in the president role.

The agency now staffs 240 and maintains offices in Minneapolis, New York, Chicago, Richmond, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Raper was awarded the Thomas Jefferson Award of Excellence in Public Relations by the Richmond Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and Ernst & Young’s Regional Entrepreneur of the Year in the Business and Consulting Category.

“Throughout his career, Mark has given everything of himself to the industry, his community and the company that became Padilla,” Padilla CEO Lynn Casey told O’Dwyer’s. “He’s earned his beach, and we wish him the best in his new journey.”

Padilla is now one of the largest independently-owned PR and communications firms in the U.S. as ranked by O’Dwyer’s, accounting for more than $42.4 million in net fees in 2016.