H&K fills void by bringing in Reineke to run DC office

WASHINGTON: Hill & Knowlton's Washington, DC office will receive its fifth GM in the past three years when Gene Reineke takes over April 1.

WASHINGTON: Hill & Knowlton's Washington, DC office will receive its fifth GM in the past three years when Gene Reineke takes over April 1.

Currently H&K's COO and head of its Chicago office, Reineke is the first to hold the position full-time since the February departure of Alisa Fogelman-Beyer. She took the reins from retiring CEO Tom Hoog in July 2002, who spent a year filling in for Torie Clarke, a former George H.W. Bush staffer.

Clarke left H&K in early 2001 to become undersecretary of public affairs at the Department of Defense.

Paul Clark, practice leader for H&K's media team, has been filling in as interim GM since Fogelman-Beyer's exit.

The selection of Reineke marks a return to form for H&K's Washington office. Fogelman-Beyer had joined the firm only after the acquisition of her hi-tech shop, The ProMarc Agency. At the time, some H&K insiders bristled at the selection of a non-public-affairs executive - much less one with scant big-agency experience - to head an office known largely for its expertise in public affairs work.

Reineke, however, has a long history of public affairs positions - including a stint as chief of staff in the Illinois governor's office - and has already proven himself by leading one of the agency's larger outposts, according to an H&K spokeswoman.

Reineke declined comment on his intentions for the DC office, which now boasts a staff of about 65 - significantly fewer than it did just a few years ago. Reineke simply stated that "Washington is an important priority for us."

Reineke will continue his duties as COO. A national search for his replacement atop the Chicago office is expected to begin immediately.

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