Every situation, every organization AND every management team is different.
We understand that.
Sony, the New York Stock Exchange, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, where founder Bob Zito served as a member of senior management and helped build and shape those brands, each faced different challenges, but each was recognized as a leader in its industry.
Each understood and focused on its strategy for success, and Bob and his teams built and executed plans to deliver.
Zito Partners takes the same approach.
We take the time to become familiar with our clients, to know their personalities, to understand their culture and to share their objectives so we can partner with them and help them succeed.
Whether it is flexing up and flexing down to tackle immediate reputational challenges or managing daily issues against a tight budget, our team works with clients to build lasting results.
We learn your objectives and work with our clients to build and execute plans that result in stronger brands, respected management teams, and engaged employees and constituents.
Deborah Kostroun is Managing Director at Zito Partners and has spent her career in financial public relations and journalism. She was a financial television anchor and reporter for Bloomberg Television for 13 years before returning to public relations in 2014. Previously Deborah worked with Edelman and the Chicago Board of Trade in communications roles.
Her background spans corporate communications, PR agency work and broadcast journalism with knowledge of print, digital, television, website integration and social media strategy. She provides a unique insight and maximizes her ability to achieve positive media exposure for clients.
Deborah has worked with many clients from asset managers, ETF providers, private equity and hedge funds to fintech providers and wealth management firms. She has been successful at bringing visibility to clients through successful campaigns and top tier media placements and feature stories.
Deborah received a B.S. in Agricultural Journalism from Texas A&M University. Deborah lives in Mahwah, NJ with her daughter. She is a volunteer in many organizations and runs a Texas-based charity in memory of her mentor.
Robert Zito – Interview with Bob
Robert Zito has more than 35 years’ experience as a brand communications, advertising and public relations executive in the sports, financial, pharmaceutical and entertainment industries.
As the Executive Vice President and member of the Management Committee of the New York Stock Exchange, Bob built the NYSE’s brand into one of the most respected in the world. He is best known for bringing television to the NYSE trading floor and creating the daily “must-see” events of high-powered newsmakers ringing the opening and closing bells, creating global visibility for NYSE-listed companies and member firms. He also led the communications effort surrounding the re-opening of U.S. markets following the attacks of 9/11.
As Sony’s Vice President of corporate communications, he helped rebrand the company as a global entertainment leader following Sony’s acquisitions of CBS Records and Columbia Pictures.
During his time as Chief Communications Officer and a member of the Management Committee of Bristol-Myers Squibb, he guided the successful ‘Together we can prevail’ brand campaign, which focused on the company’s mission to help patients prevail over serious diseases.
Bob has a breadth of experience around crises – from entertainers who were the subject of scandals, to board members who were indicted, to disruptions in trading, to FBI raids on corporate offices, to operating under a “deferred prosecution agreement” with the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Bob serves as Vice Chairman of the FDNY Foundation, chairman of Cento Amici, and serves on the board of the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He was also responsible for the New York Stock Exchange and Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundations. In 1998 he started the NYSE Fallen Heroes Fund, and in 1991, the Zito Family Scholarships at St. Peter’s Prep. He is a graduate of Fairfield University and completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University. He is a 1998 recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
Christina Scolaro is a Partner of Zito Partners and is a 25-year veteran in the financial news industry. Most recently, Scolaro worked at CNBC’s flagship morning program, Squawk Box, as the show’s talent producer, bringing lawmakers, industry leaders and Fortune 500 CEOs to air during the live three-hour show that airs weekdays from 6-9 a.m. ET.
Prior to Squawk Box, as CNBC senior producer, she managed the production of strategic, original content for CNBC’s digital and social platforms. Scolaro previously worked at Bloomberg Television. Several of Christina’s Bloomberg years encompassed producing breaking news from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Christina lives in Tenafly, NJ. She has two sons that keep her on the move. She loves to volunteer at the boys’ schools, reading and doing yoga.
David Allan joined Zito Partners in 2019 from Ketchum where he was Senior Vice President, Investor Relations and a member of the firm’s Financial Communications unit in New York.
In his 18 years with Ketchum, David worked on financial communications for a broad variety of clients which included Procter & Gamble, First Data Corp., Western Union, Johnson Controls, Campbell Soup Company, Church & Dwight, Iridium Communications, The New York Stock Exchange, Pfizer and Ketchum’s parent company, Omnicom.
He was also responsible for the firm’s transaction work including the $2 billion IPO of Zoetis (formerly Pfizer Animal Health), the $600M IPO of Allison Transmission, the $720 million IPO of Mead Johnson Company, the $26 billion acquisition of First Data Corp. by KKR; Cendant’s spin-off and NYSE listing of Realogy Corp.; and the $11 billion acquisition of May Department Stores by Macy’s.
In 2014, he helped Ketchum form its strategic alliance with Zito Partners, “Ketchum Zito Financial,” which provides boutique and special situation counsel and support for shared clients.
Prior to joining Ketchum, David served as director of investor relations for the Arlington, Va.-based investment bank, asset management and venture capital holding company Friedman Billings Ramsey Group (NYSE: FBR).
Previously, he was a senior vice president at Robinson Lerer Montgomery (now Finsbury) in New York for three years, where he specialized in investor relations, M&A and crisis communications for corporate clients
David holds a BA in English from the University of Virginia, and an MBA from Columbia University. He lives
with his wife Linda Ruckel in Easton, CT.
Assistant Account Executive
Ariel Kaplan is an assistant account executive at Zito Partners, responsible for assisting several clients with tasks such as pitching stories to the media and writing press releases. She coordinates client interviews with reporters and maintains several databases of media contacts and press sheets. She graduated from Montclair State University (MSU) with a B.A. in Communication Studies in 2021.
During her time at MSU, Ariel worked with various clients in Hawk Communications, a student–led strategic communication agency that works with internal departments/programs at MSU and area businesses and nonprofits, for five semesters.
Her roles in the agency included the Account Manager for the Montclair Art Museum (MAM), where she led quantitative and qualitative research to inform MAM’S public relations and events strategy designed to drive interest and footfall. Ariel was also the Account Lead of the of the Research and Planning Team for the Garden State Wine Growers Association, which involved brainstorming ways to help New Jersey–based wineries promote major events.
Finally, Ariel was the Account Lead of the Social Media Management Team for New Jersey Warriors Hockey (NJ Warriors), a non–profit, volunteer–run program that gives disabled US Military Veterans the opportunity to rehab through the passion of ice hockey. This position involved strengthening the team’s social media accounts by creating an ongoing content calendar as well as consistently posting on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Additionally, she pitched the Warriors’ story to the media and earned coverage on CBS New York and Sports Illustrated.
Georgeanna R S. Walker is a graduate of New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and part of the original Zito Partners team that formed in 2011.
She is a digital media and technology specialist who produces and delivers digital content for clients’ advertising and corporate communication needs. Her expertise spans from branding development (e.g., logos, style-guides, and printed marketing collateral) to digital content such as building, designing, and maintaining websites, managing newsletter deployment and delivery, configuring newsletter content across multiple platforms, and administering clients’ social media accounts through initial account set-up, user-training, posting or recommending social media posts.
Georgeanna also operates the New Jersey office and administers its internal network, telephones, and reception. Her duties include communicating with vendors, colleagues, and consultants to distribute monthly invoices.
An active leader during her collegiate years in various organizations, most notably in NJIT’s New and Incoming Student Orientation program as a Lead Coordinator, Georgeanna oversaw the task of guiding incoming undergrads and transfer students with course and semester registration. Among her responsibilities were training peer staff, schedule management for those who needed rescheduling, mentoring freshman, and securing sensitive data.
Georgeanna is passionate about technology and values education. She actively volunteers for Cento Amici, a community-based non-profit organization dedicated to supporting education in New Jersey. She holds a BS in Information Technology, with specialty concentrations in both Multimedia and Design & Social Media.
Our Board of Advisors
Salvatore J. Cassano
Salvatore J. Cassano served as the 32 nd Fire Commissioner in the 149-year history of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY), leading the United States’ largest fire department with more than 16,000 fire, EMS and civilian members, and an annual budget of $1.6 billion.
Commissioner Cassano spent more than 44 years in the FDNY and held every uniformed rank prior to his appointment by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in January, 2010. Commissioner Cassano served as the FDNY’s Chief of Department – the highest-ranking uniformed officer – from 2006 through 2010, overseeing many of the agency’s most important bureaus. From 2001 to 2006, he served as Chief of Operations – a position to which he was appointed immediately after Sept. 11, 2001. Both as Chief of Operations and Chief of Department, Commissioner Cassano played a crucial role in rebuilding the Department in the wake of Sept. 11 and the loss of 343 members of the Department.
Commissioner Cassano’s career with the FDNY began with his appointment as a firefighter on Nov. 29, 1969. Prior to joining the FDNY, Commissioner Cassano served in the U.S. Army from October 1965 through July 1967 and was deployed to Vietnam in September 1966.
Joseph J. “Joe” Grano, Jr.
Mr. Grano is Chairman and CEO of root9B Technologies (OTCQB:RTNB), a cybersecurity and regulatory risk mitigation company, and Chairman and CEO of Centurion Holdings LLC, a company that advises private and public companies. From 2001-2004, Mr. Grano was Chairman of UBS Financial Services Inc. (formerly UBS PaineWebber). In addition to being one of the financial service industry’s leading executives, Mr. Grano is involved in a wide range of educational and philanthropic endeavors. In 2002, Mr. Grano was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as the Chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Council. He relinquished his position in August 2005.
In 2012 Mr. Grano was honored at the NJ Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation and he also received the Quiet Professional Award from the Green Beret Foundation for his patriotic contributions to our country. In 2004 Mr. Grano received the Sons of Italy Foundation National Education & Leadership Award. In October 2002 he received the Corporate Leadership Award from the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund for his commitment to education. In 2000, he became the 39th recipient of the USO Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Service, and was named Business Leader of the Year by Georgetown University’s School of Business. In 1998 he received the “La Bellissima America” award for his leadership role in preserving the heritage of Italian-Americans, and in 1996, Mr. Grano was a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in recognition of distinguished contributions to our country.
Mr. Grano is the author of the book “You Can’t Predict A Hero” which was on BusinessWeek’s best seller list in 2009.
Richard A. “Dick” Grasso
Dick Grasso, the founder of Gladiator Holdings, is the former chairman and chief executive officer of the New York Stock Exchange (1995-2002), guiding the Exchange to the most successful years in its 223-year history. During his tenure, the NYSE became the world’s most respected equities market, boosting its market share to 84% and setting annual records for new listings, IPOs and transfers. A champion of the small investor, Grasso brought unparalleled transparency to the marketplace. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Grasso’s leadership was instrumental in the successful reopening of the U.S. equities markets.
Grasso served as a Director of publicly-traded Computer Associates, and Home Depot.
Grasso currently serves as a founding member and Chairman of The Crime Stoppers Program of The Nassau County Police Department, America’s third largest police force.
He also served as chairman of the Economic Club of New York, the YMCA of Greater New York, and Junior Achievement of New York, and vice chairman of the National Italian American Foundation, and the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. He served on the Board of the Washington-based National Police Foundation, a think tank funded by Carnegie Mellon, to study and advance modern policing strategies, as well as the International Capital Markets Committee of the New York Federal Reserve.
Among other philanthropic activities, Mr. Grasso has founded the American Dream Foundation, and has served on the boards of the New York City Police Foundation, New York State Troopers Foundation and the New York City Public Private Initiatives, among other organizations.
Mr. Hollander most recently served as Chairman and CEO of CBS Radio (formerly Infinity Broadcasting). He also served as President and CEO of Westwood One, a position he accepted after guiding New York’s WFAN Radio to prominence in the 1990’s. He is currently an investor and Board member of The Salem Red Sox, a Carolina A league baseball team and Tile Financial Inc., an organization designed to educate young adults about managing wealth. Mr. Hollander is also an advisor for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.
In 1993, Mr. Hollander and his wife, Susan, started the CJ Foundation for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), funding research and support services for the SIDS community nationally. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Tomorrow’s Children Fund, and as a trustee of the Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television.
Col. Jack Jacobs
During his multiple tours of duty in Vietnam, Col. Jack Jacobs was awarded three Bronze stars, two Silver stars, two Purple Hearts, and the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration. His Colby Award-winning memoir, “If Not Now, When,” was published by Penguin in 2008. He currently holds the McDermott Chair of Humanities and Public Affairs at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and serves as a military analyst for NBC/MSNBC.
Col. Jacobs was a founder and Chief Operating Officer of AutoFinance Group, and is currently a principal in the Fitzroy Group of London. He is Vice-Chairman of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, and serves on the Board of the National World War II Museum. Col. Jacobs also serves on the Board of the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, which aids the families of troops and law enforcement officers killed in action.
Tracy Murdoch O’Such
Tracy Murdoch O’Such is the Managing Partner in the New York office of Diversified Search. Her responsibilities include the management of the firm’s New York Office and its global Digital Media, Entertainment & Sports Practice. Ms. O’Such received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of New Hampshire and has fifteen years’ experience in executive search as well as direct industry experience in large media conglomerates.
The convergence of media, technology and sports industries has broadened her client base to include: Clear Channel, Comcast, GE, In Game Advertising, Mobile Marketing Association, New York State Broadcasters Association, Technicolor, Time Warner , USOC (United States Olympic Committee) and the USTA among others.
Charles D. Smith Jr.
Charles D. Smith Jr., a former professional basketball player and U.S. Olympian, is a proven business leader and entrepreneur. Most recently, Mr. Smith was the Executive Director for the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA). Under his leadership, the Association grew and reached goals in fundraising, marketing, member relations and programs and services for its Members. Prior to joining the NBRPA, Mr. Smith served as a Regional Representative of Player Programs for the NBA Players Association (NBPA). In that capacity, he made an impact on the lives of current and former players by providing them educational programs and support services.
He also developed and owns four prestigious Technology Patents providing customizable software applications for video ingestion in the industry of content management. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Pittsburgh and is completing his MBA at Seton Hall University.