Former Obama, Clinton official quits as Teneo CEO after drunken conduct at celebration
Teneo CEO Declan Kelly speaks on stage during Global Citizen Presents Global Goal Live: The Possible Dream at St. Ann’s Warehouse on September 26, 2019 in New York City.
Noam Galai | Getty Images
The CEO of leading public relations and consulting firm Teneo, who previously served as special envoy for Northern Ireland under then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, resigned Tuesday after the aftermath of his drunken behavior at a high-profile charity event last month.
Declan Kelly’s departure came days after General Motors cut ties with Teneo for his conduct and weeks after he stepped down from the board of directors of the Global Citizen nonprofit group that hosted the May 2 event in question.
General Motors was a customer of Teneo, a 1,200-person company co-founded by Doug Band, a former advisor to ex-President Bill Clinton.
In addition to working for GM, which reportedly paid Teneo $ 250,000 a month, Kelly also worked as a consultant to General Electric and Coca-Cola.
Kelly, who also chaired Teneo, is the brother of Alan Kelly, the leader of the Labor Party in Ireland.
Declan Kelly, who previously worked as a reporter for several newspapers in Ireland, worked for Hillary Clinton as Special Envoy for Economics from 2009 to 2011 when she headed the State Department under former President Barack Obama. Kelly had also served as an advisor to Clinton during her 2008 presidential campaign.
The Wall Street Journal reported last Friday that Kelly’s agent said the PR manager was “intoxicated and behaved inappropriately toward some women and men” at the Global Citizen event.
President Joe Biden had a video appearance at the event, chaired by Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle. Pope Francis also brought a message to the assembly.
“Since the event two months ago, Mr. Kelly has made an immediate sobriety, provides ongoing medical professional advice and has temporarily reduced his job responsibilities,” his representative said, according to the Journal.
“He has the full support of his family, colleagues, partners and friends.”
This wasn’t Kelly’s first embarrassing public episode.
Kelly was previously featured on a social media video as he slept with his mouth open in the stands at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami during the first quarter of the Super Bowl in February 2020.
This viral video came eight months after Teneo sold a slight controlling stake in CVC Capital Partners in a deal that valued Teneo at more than $ 700 million.
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In his own statement on Teneo’s website posted on Tuesday, Kelly said: “On May 2nd, I made an unintentional, public and embarrassing mistake for which I have taken full responsibility and which I am responsible to those directly affected as well as my colleagues and Customer apologized. “
“A campaign against our company’s reputation has followed and may continue in the coming days,” said Kelly. “However, I do not want these matters, regardless of the correctness of such matters, to continually distract the conduct of our company.”
“To protect Teneo’s employees and customers, and with the strong support of my family, I have decided to leave the company and step down as chairman and CEO,” said Kelly.
Teneo’s board of directors has named another co-founder of the company, Chief Operating Officer Paul Keary, to succeed Kelly as chief executive officer.
“We would like to thank Declan for his leadership and dedication over the past decade in building Teneo into the world’s leading consulting firm for CEOs,” the company said in a statement.
“Today, thanks to Declan’s leadership and the efforts of its excellent management team, Teneo serves the world’s leading companies with a large number of experienced consultants in a range of disciplines.”