PR Veterans Lewis Kay, Joseph Assad Exit PMK to Launch Firm With WME-IMG

The Hollywood Sign - H 2015
Courtesy of RexUSA

The newly formed Kovert Creative will have offices in New York and Los Angeles.

Veteran publicity executives Lewis Kay and Joseph Assad are leaving the powerhouse PMK*BNC firm and launching a new company dubbed Kovert Creative.

A joint venture with entertainment and sports conglomerate WME-IMG, Kovert, with offices in New York and Los Angeles, will provide traditional PR services and strive to match talent and brands. The company will leverage an expertise in digital campaigns as well as personal and brand marketing communications. It will be run independently from WME-IMG.

Kay, a 19-year PMK publicist with a specialty in comedy, most recently served as executive vp and COO of the company's entertainment division. Kay will be based in L.A. and will evolve his role from personal publicist to a wider marketing position. Clients including Jimmy Kimmel, Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, Sarah Silverman and Jack Black are expected to join Kay at the new company.

Assad was with PMK for 11 years, overseeing the New York office from 2004 to 2012, launching PMK's digital offering Vowel and leading video content projects for clients including Audi (Emmy spots, and the widely praised ad "The Challenge," starring Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy) and Samsung. Assad will be based in Brooklyn. 

Kay and Assad will be co-CEOs. 

Kovert, a 50-50 partnership between WME-IMG and the company's leaders, marks another expansion for WME since the talent agency acquired the sports and fashion power IMG in 2014. The firm recently acquired businesses as diverse as the Professional Bull Riders Association, the Miss Universe pageant and Dixon Talent, the boutique talent agency that represents Kimmel, among others.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, WME-IMG chief content officer Mark Shapiro described Kovert as a "the ideal complement to our portfolio" and praised Assad and Kay as "experts in their filed who work with culture-defining brands and individuals."

Lewis said the move will allow him to better assist clients in building brands outside the bounds of traditional celebrity. "I am fortunate enough to be involved with creators who are working across multiple disciplines throughout our business," he said. "Given how the landscape continues to evolve, this new company will position us to navigate all of their marketing and communication needs while also mining for synergistic opportunities with a broad group of like-minded creative individuals."

Assad said the "timing was right to create a company where we can focus on doing smart, cutting-edge work on a daily basis." He added that having WME-IMG as a partner would help "hyper-charge growth."