Lou CapozziLou Capozzi

Louis Capozzi, former chair of the MSL Group and former CCO of Aetna, is the 2018 Paladin Award Honoree.

Capozzi, who has raised more than $3 million for Public Relations Society of America’s Foundation, scholarships and programs, will receive the Award Wednesday, May 9 at the Helen Mills Event Space and Theater, 137 W. 26th st.

Now an adjunct professor at the University of Oregon where he teaches the M.A. program in strategic communications, he was president of the Foundation three years.

He started his career in public relations as a financial writer, writing and producing dozens of corporate annual reports, acting as a speechwriter for CEOs and handling financial and investor communications for dozens of companies from small, newly listed businesses toFortune 50 global companies.

He is often interviewed and featured in global communications and business media, frequently contributes to communications industry publications and acts a spokesman for the industry in global media and as a speaker at industry events.

Started at H&K

He began his career at Hill and Knowlton in 1968 as an intern who was firm's first graduate trainee.

He was CCO at Aetna Life & Casualty when it was the nation’s largest publicly owned insurance company. He managed a 150-person corporate communications department with a budget of more than $80 million and was responsible for advertising, corporate public relations, financial and shareholder communications, employee communications and investor relations support.

He was chairman of the MSL Group, now the world's fourth-largest public relations firm, from 1999 until his retirement at the end of 2008. He managed operations in more than 30 cities around the world. The firm is part of Publicis Groupe, world's 3rd-largest communications group.

Capozzi was awarded the PRSA Gold Anvil for lifetime achievement in 2017. The Gold Anvil is the society's highest individual Award, presented to a practitioner whose accomplishments have made a major contribution to the profession.

Seeks Diversity in PR

As president of the PRSA Foundation, he worked to drive diversity in PR. The foundation partners with universities and other professional and academic organizations to build programs to attract more African American and Hispanic students to careers in PR and to make them better prepared to contribute to the profession, and to society when they arrive.

He is a member of the Arthur Page Society, a former chairman of the Council of Public Relations Firms and the International Communications Consultants Organisation as well as an accredited member of PRSA and a member of its College of Fellows.

Capozzi serves on the board of Bend 2030, a non-profit working on affordable housing, transportation and livability in Bend, Oregon. He formerly served on the board of the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC), focusing on public transit. He served on the board of American Rivers for ten years and on the board of the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy and acted as a marketing advisor to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

He grew up near Trenton and attended New York University’s Stern School of Business, obtaining a degree in marketing and journalism. He also earned an MBA from the Bernard Baruch School of Business at City College of New York.

Tickets are $250 for members, $350 for non-members and $150 for students. Sponsorships and ad opportunities are available from Beth-Ellen Keyes, director of operations and programs.