H&K hires second executive with ties to Jack Martin

NEW YORK: Hill & Knowlton named Andrew Bleeker the head of the worldwide digital practice, marking the second executive with ties to new global CEO Jack Martin to take a role at the agency.

NEW YORK: Hill & Knowlton named Andrew Bleeker the head of the worldwide digital practice, marking the second executive with ties to new global CEO Jack Martin to take a role at the agency.

In addition, three executives with decades-long ties to Hill & Knowlton announced plans to leave the agency this week, including global CEO Paul Taaffe, worldwide marketing communications leader MaryLee Sachs, and CMO Tony Burgess-Webb.

Martin, founder of Public Strategies, was named global chairman and CEO of Hill & Knowlton earlier this week, following news of Taaffe's departure. A merger between the WPP Group sister agencies Hill & Knowlton and Public Strategies went into effect January 1.

Martin was not available for comment. 

Bleeker replaces Julie Atherton, who has taken a new role as a senior global adviser to Martin on integrated communications, said Lori Robinson, SVP of marketing communications at Hill & Knowlton.

Both Bleeker and Ken Luce, who was tapped as global COO earlier this week, cited long-time ties to Martin as reasons for joining Hill & Knowlton. Bleeker, who founded Bully Pulpit Interactive in 2009 and served as director of online advertising for Obama for America, reports to Martin.

Bleeker also said that the agency provides a “real opportunity” to expand Hill & Knowlton's offerings and apply digital political strategies to corporate programs.

Post-merger, the combined entity has more than 2,300 employees.

Hill & Knowlton reported in 2009 that its global revenue fell between $300 million and $400 million and its US revenue ranged between $70 million and $100 million. At the time of WPP's acquisition of Public Strategies in 2006, the firm was reported to have annual gross revenues of $50 million.

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