Andy Cooper, the PR executive best known as a co-founder of the New York firm CooperKatz, has died after a battle with cancer. He was 64.
Mr. Cooper co-founded the agency with grad school friend Ralph Katz about 17 years ago, growing it into a well-regarded mid-sized PR firm that remained staunchly independent in an age of rapid consolidation. Current clients include Coldwell Banker, Otis Elevators, Jackson Hewitt and the Association of National Advertisers.
Mr. Cooper got into PR in 1975 when he joined the New York office of Burson-Marsteller eventually becoming president and vice-chairman there. He and Mr. Katz, who ran creative services at Burson, struck out on their own in 1996.
A few years later, when PRWeek asked him for the most daring thing he'd done, he pointed that decision to start his own firm "at a time when I had two little kids and one very big mortgage." In that same interview, the former English and journalism major identified writing, everything from pitch letters to press releases, as his favorite activity, saying that some employees knew him as "Chief Editorial Officer."
Mr. Cooper is survived by his wife, Sharon, and children, Emily and Daniel Cooper. Today CooperKatz is led by Mr. Katz, President-CEO Anne Green, CFO Dorothy Sonnenburg and seven other members of the management team.
Reflecting on Mr. Cooper's legacy, Ms. Green wrote on the company website: "The quality of our client roster and the deep dedication and tenure of our team members speaks volumes to what [Mssrs. Cooper and Katz] achieved – and is just one testament to the broad legacy that Andy leaves behind."
Here's what Steve Rubel, chief content strategist at Edelman and one of the agency's more famous alumni, had to say on the website: "I will never forget how years later he and Ralph gave me the freedom to dabble with blogs which opened my eyes to all kinds of new ways to engage stakeholders through social media and led me to where I am today. He played a huge role in my career and he will be missed but we continue to carry his spirit of creativity with us forever."
You can leave your own memories here.