Positioning the organization for continued growth and diversification, Freeman, one of the world’s leading brand experience companies, has named Phil Molyneux (pictured above left) as its new president and, building on a more than 90-year family legacy, is announcing that Carrie Freeman Parsons (pictured above right) has been chosen to succeed her father Donald S. Freeman, Jr. (Don) as the next chair of the company. Freeman Parsons currently serves as the vice chair of Freeman and has been actively involved in the business since 1985. With Freeman Parsons moving into the new role, her father will transition into the role of chairman emeritus later this year.
Freeman became president of Freeman in 1972 and was named chairman and CEO in 1977 when the company was a local and regional decorating company. Under his leadership, the company has flourished and is now one of the world’s leading provider of services for experiential marketing events. Recognized as one of the industry’s most decorated leaders, Freeman has received numerous awards and honors for his many contributions including serving on and chairing multiple industry boards. He is a member of the Convention Industry Council’s Hall of Leaders and the U.S. Travel Hall of Leaders, and he has received the IAEE Distinguished Service Award and, in 2001, was awarded the PCMA Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Don’s contributions to Freeman and to our industry are beyond measure,” says Bob Priest-Heck, CEO of Freeman. “He has set the standard for integrity and customer focus, and he’s led the charge to help both Freeman and the event and brand experience industry to innovate and transform. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know him well, and his humility, intellect, integrity and business savvy are all qualities I hope to emulate as I work with Carrie and the incredible Freeman team to propel the company into the future.”
Molyneux succeeds Bob Priest-Heck who is now Freeman CEO. Molyneux is a technology engineer with a depth of global experience driving major consumer brands like SONY and Dyson. His operational success is quantified, and he is known for his innovation and out-of-the-box thinking.
“Event marketing is evolving into a data-driven industry—as proven by our recent Data Benchmark Study—that will benefit from Phil’s deep-domain, technological expertise and brand knowledge,” says Priest-Heck. “Phil’s ability to extract key insights and use those insights to impact growth will give our clients a more streamlined return on investment and redefine what it means to partner with Freeman. Our customers—small, mid-size and large—want to grow their business,” Priest-Heck adds. “We are adding new, proven talent from across all industries to help us adopt best practices and organize better around the services and products they need to grow. Phil’s ability to leverage partnerships for compound growth, his understanding of businesses outside of the event marketing space, and his innate ability to attract and retain the most competitive talent in the industries he represents bring the depth and perspective needed to be a vital president—and Freeman is excited to have him on the team.”
Molyneux is a trained engineer in computer technology spawning innovative thinking in the event and experiential marketing space. His strategic brand expertise coupled with 30+ years of experience redefining industry standards for major consumer brands like SONY and Dyson is a value-add to Freeman that will help drive cutting-edge solutions. Internally, Molyneux’s transformational skills as well as operational success is proven—having constructed and delivered multiple successful company-wide transformational programs.
“As I’ve traveled around and participated in some of our biggest events,” says President Molyneux, “I see incredible potential both for our clients, as they engage with their customers through live brand experiences, as well as for our people, as they continue to put the customer at the center of all that they do and innovate this exciting live medium.”
Since its creation, Freeman has been family owned and family run. And that tradition continues with this latest appointment. Freeman Parsons grew up in the business and represents the third generation of Freeman leaders (her grandfather is founder Buck Freeman). Freeman Parsons joined Freeman in 1985 and has held numerous positions since, including general manager, president of Freeman Exhibit Company, chief marketing officer, and most recently vice chair. She has also served as a member of Freeman’s board of directors since 2004.
“I couldn’t think of a better person to help guide this company forward into the future,” says Freeman, current chairman of the company. “Carrie has immersed herself in Freeman over the years, embodying our core values, contributing greatly to our overall business strategy, and showing a true passion for this company, our people and our industry. I’m proud and honored to have her continue our family legacy.”
In addition to Freeman Parsons succeeding Freeman as chair, Freeman also announced that, after 22 years at Freeman, Joe Popolo will be stepping back from the day-to-day business and focusing on his board role. Popolo will continue to support the business in specific areas and provide valuable insights for board-level decisions.
“Joe has put all of his focus and energy into this company for more than two decades and has led us to extraordinary growth over the years,” says Freeman. “During his tenure, he has helped triple the size of Freeman, led our global expansion and the rebranding of our businesses, and helped us grow significantly in the experiential marketing space. We can’t thank Joe enough for his contributions to Freeman these past 22 years.”
Freeman’s transition to chairman emeritus will begin on April 1 and will continue for approximately three months to help create a seamless transition. Effective July 1, Freeman Parsons will officially be the new chair of Freeman.
Freeman is one of the world’s leading brand experience companies. They help their clients design and deliver immersive live experiences for their most important audiences. Through comprehensive offerings including strategy, creative, logistics, digital and event technology, Freeman helps increase audience engagement and drive business results. They state, “What makes us different is our collaborative culture, intuitive knowledge, global perspective, and personalized approach, which we’ve gained from our 90 years as an industry leader.” For more info, visit www.freeman.com.