Ketchum has turned to the US to appoint a successor to James Maxwell as UK chief executive.
The agency this week named San Francisco office head Jon Higgins as the CEO in charge of its 150-strong London office, which also serves as Ketchum's European hub. Higgins starts his new job in February.
He has been at the head of the San Francisco office since 1997 as a director and partner. He joined the agency three years prior to that as an associate director.
In London, he replaces James Maxwell, who was promoted to a Europe-wide MD role earlier this year (PRWeek, 22 September).
Higgins will join Maxwell on the European management team, where his role includes new business spotting within the UK market and building links with the agency's other European offices.
In recent months, UK group MD Jane Boardman - on the fashion and lifestyle side - and deputy CEO Richard Aldwinckle - on the corporate and issues side - have been heading UK operations.
The agency said the appointment of a foreign head for London symbolised its attempt to globalise the business by deploying top managers internationally.
As further evidence of this, a Ketchum source pointed to former UK corporate director Mike Hatcliffe, who earlier this year moved to the US to run Ketchum's Chicago office.