Danny Mitchell, the former chairman and CEO of GodwinGroup, died suddenly Sunday morning of a heart attack. He was 66.
Mitchell, who was a well-known and respected member of the Mississippi business community, retired as Senior Partner and Chairman in 2012. When he was chairman and CEO he grew Godwin into one of the top agencies in the South. He was the first advertising executive inducted into the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame.
Mitchell was married for 35 years to Patty Perkins Mitchell, a 1970 graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. They have three children – Amy, Ben and Emily – all of who have chosen communications as their profession. He was an avid tennis player and plays on several U.S. Tennis Association teams. He was a member of Christ United Methodist Church.
Many in the Mississippi business community posted their condolences to Mitchell’s Facebook page.
“Still in shock after hearing this news. A good friend. Rest in peace, Danny. Patty, thinking of you and family. Much peace, prayers and thoughts,” said Phil Hardwick of the John C. Stennis Institute of Government.
“This hit hard. He was a mentor to many, an encourager and a friend–he will be missed. Peace to Danny’s family,” said business blogger and writer Susan Marquez.
Mitchell joined GodwinGroup in 1983 as part of succession. He held numerous positions of increasing responsibility including Vice President, Public Relations; Senior Vice President, Public Relations & Business Development and President. In 1992, he was named CEO and in 22 years with the company, he has served as the driving force behind the agency’s growth.
He led GodwinGroup’s evolution in becoming a full service integrated marketing firm with in-house capabilities including research, public relations, database marketing, customer relationship marketing and interactive services to augment the traditional creative, marketing and media buying services. Importantly, as he recruited top talent from around the country and cultivated the skills of home-grown executives, he grew the bottom line. When he joined in 1983, GodwinGroup grew from $2 million (in capitalized billings) to more than $62 million in capitalized billings today. GodwinGroup is the only Mississippi agency ranked among the Top 50 in the Southeast by AdWeek.
Previously, he was Public Relations and Communnications Officer for the Jackson Municipal Separate School District, Managing Partner for WSDL and WVSL radio stations in Slidel, La., and was Assistant Director of Public Relations, for Mississippi University for Women in Columbus.
Mitchell was involved in numerous civic and community activities, including the Mississippi Economic Council, and was an active member of the University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Association – serving in the past as the president of the school’s alumni association and he was elected to the Alumni Hall of Fame.
Visitation for Mitchell will be held at Ott & Lee Funeral Home, 1360 W. Government Street (Hwy. 80) in Brandon on Tuesday evening, 5:00 – 8:00, and again at 9:00 Wednesday morning at Christ United. The funeral service will follow at 10:00 am. Burial will be at 1:00 pm in Bassfield. Memorial gifts may be made to Christ United or the charity of your choice.
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