Brooklyn-based public relations firm Ditto today announced the hire of Kris Kitto as Vice President in its growing San Francisco office. As Vice President, Kitto will oversee West Coast account teams and assist Managing Director Blain Rethmeier in business development.
Kitto has a wide-ranging background in strategic communications and journalism. He spent nearly a decade in Washington, D.C., covering Congress, the White House, federal agencies and national politics for The Hill and other news organizations. Kitto also reported on Latin America while at the Associated Press’s Buenos Aires bureau and as a freelance journalist.
Most recently he was a director in SHIFT Communications’ San Francisco office, leading cyber security, marketing technology, financial technology and cryptocurrency account teams. He has worked with clients ranging from Starbucks to HBO, Kaiser Permanente, the Colorado Symphony, First Interstate Bank, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and Webroot.
“Reporters and people with political experience make for the best communications professionals, and Kris brings both of those to the table. Take that coupled with his agency experience, and Kris brings a skill set that few out there have,” said Ditto CEO Trey Ditto. “Our clients expect smart, strategic professionals who can delivery results, which is why Kris will be a great addition to Ditto.”
Ditto’s West Coast clients include CoinList, which hosts and handles compliance for the top ICOs; ISDI Digital University, where digital business MBA candidates learn from executives at Facebook, Box and other leading tech companies; and Stride Health, a health insurance broker geared toward independent workers, part-time employees and other participants in the growing gig economy.
Ditto opened its San Francisco office, dubbed “Ditto West,” with Rethmeier’s hire in July. Rethmeier, also a Washington veteran, previously led Edelman’s Western Region Crisis and Risk Practice, and oversaw the firm’s Los Angeles corporate communications practice. He served as special assistant to President George W. Bush in both the National Economic and White House Security councils.
“There’s no better time to help companies and startups in the Bay Area tell their stories as Silicon Valley’s relationship with Washington comes to a head,” Rethmeier said. “Kris and I will be using our experience from both coasts to help clients plot a communications path that takes into consideration the sensitivities and nuances of today’s nonstop news cycles.”
Ditto, founded in 2012, is a different kind of communications agency. The firm got its start in media relations and has since expanded into newsworthy content creation, marketing and digital strategy as clients need a more integrated and aligned approach under one roof. The Ditto team is comprised of senior-level professionals who specialize in a range of sectors and capabilities. For a client, that means anyone at Ditto can answer any question and solve any problem. Companies that hire Ditto see communications as a business decision and expect results that will positively impact their bottom line – not fluff, jargon or underwhelming outputs.
“This is a reunion of sorts, as Trey and I worked together a decade ago when I was covering education policy and he was an Education Department spokesman,” Kitto said. “My passion is to help tell compelling narratives that humanize a cause or organization, and Trey, Blain and the entire Ditto team are committed to doing the same. I look forward to both contributing to and learning from clients and colleagues in my new position.”
With the opening of Ditto West, the agency has add two offerings to its array of integrated services: crisis communications and “Inside-the-Beltway” communications for Bay Area companies and startups seeking a voice in the political, policy and regulatory conversations unfolding in Washington, D.C.