Howard J. Rubenstein
Howard Rubenstein founded the strategic communications agency that bears his name in 1954. It is led today by his son Steven.
As one of the world’s most sought-after counselors and advisors to leaders, businesses, and civic institutions, Howard helped define contemporary public relations through his work with clients across sectors for more than six decades. In addition to overseeing RUBENSTEIN’s work on behalf of hundreds of clients, Howard served as a valued counselor to leading organizations and public figures. From the New York Yankees to the Metropolitan Opera, from the Archdiocese of New York to the Association for a Better New York, his clients have represented a “who’s who” of civic, business, and cultural life – and they exert global influence.
When Pope Benedict XVI visited New York City, Howard worked with long-time client Yankee Stadium to stage the biggest public event of the Pope’s three-day tour. When the New York Philharmonic made its historic visit to North Korea, Howard and his firm personally negotiated and orchestrated all media-related aspects of the trip – including the creation of a cable infrastructure across Pyongyang to broadcast the trip. And in the years following the 9/11 attacks, Howard helped World Trade Center lease-holder and developer Larry Silverstein position and promote the world’s most visible and sensitive development project.
From advising governors and mayors, to counseling cultural institutions, to founding and supporting civic and philanthropic organizations, Howard had a passion for making New York City a better place to live, work, and visit.
During one of New York City’s worst fiscal crises in the 1970s, Howard brought together the city’s business and civic leadership to create the Association for a Better New York (ABNY), which has worked to improve the City’s health, safety, and prosperity for more than 40 years. Over decades, he helped grow the New York City Marathon from a four-lap race around Central Park into the most popular marathon in the world. He was also integral to the development of events and programs that repositioned Times Square as an exciting, fun, and safe destination for tourists and New Yorkers.
Howard served on the board of directors of the Partnership for New York City and on the executive committees of the Real Estate Board of New York, NYC & Co., and the Association for a Better New York. He served on the Mayor’s Committee on Business & Economic Development under three administrations: Beame, Dinkins, and Giuliani. He was also a member of the City University of New York Business Leadership Council.
He helped found, and was vice-chairman of, the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. He was also a trustee of the Police Athletic League, the Inner City Scholarship Fund of the Archdiocese of New York, and the Foundation for the National Archives.
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Howard was accepted into Harvard Law School but dropped out. He moved home and worked as a publicist at his father’s suggestion, based in his parents’ kitchen in Brooklyn. While maintaining his business he attended law school at night, finishing first in his class at St. John’s University School of Law, which later awarded him an honorary doctor of law degree. He served as a consultant to the United States Foreign Claims Settlement Commission and as assistant counsel to the House Judiciary Committee. Throughout, Howard continued to pursue his passion – building a public relations practice at the intersection of New York’s business, government, and media sectors, which earned national and international recognition as a leading independent strategic communications firm.
Learn more on our History Page