H+K plans UK, US and China creative hubs and backtracks on EMEA structure

Hill+Knowlton Strategies is to establish creative hubs in the UK, US and China to satisfy client demand for "bigger, channel-neutral ideas" that will work at a global level and is returning to an EMEA regional structure.

Richard Millar: Handed a new global role
Richard Millar: Handed a new global role

Work on the hubs will be overseen by UK chief executive Richard Millar, who has been given the new and additional role of global chair of creative strategy.

By September the London creative hub will be staffed by a team of 10 to 15, consisting of internal and external hires, and the US and China hubs will launch afterwards, revealed Millar.

"Clients are asking for bigger, channel-neutral ideas that can be applied through multiple platforms and easily rolled out across a wide range of markets," he said.

"This is a consequence of a more competitive environment that sees us not just competing against our peers in the PR sector but also in areas like digital, creative, above the line and media planning," he added. "It’s about creating neutral ideas from a channel platform perspective, and focusing on the packaging and artistry that goes into producing an idea, which is an area where we as an industry need to become more compelling."

H+K is also making changes at an EMEA level, three years after the regional structure became less centralised with the departure of EMEA chairman and CEO Sally Costerton, who was not replaced.

While Millar will continue to report to H+K global chairman and CEO Jack Martin, other agency heads in the region will report to a new EMEA chairman and CEO, Lars Erik Grønntun.

Grønntun was previously president of H+K Europe and chairman of H+K Norway.

Sconaid McGeachin, who remains president for H+K's operations in Africa, Middle East & Turkey, will now report to Grønntun. 

Grønntun will be building a senior team to oversee the region in the coming months.

"For our company, this region is of vital importance given its size, vast geographic representation and market opportunity," he said.

"We operate in many different regions and need to make sure there are commonalities in how we behave and approach across those regions. It’s also about making sure we take advtange of the increasingly internationalised way that business operates, with many clients now operating in and across this region."

Grønntun founded Gambit H+K in Norway in 1995 and remained its CEO until 2011, when he joined the H+K global leadership team and became president of H+K operations in Benelux; the Nordics; Central and Eastern Europe; and Russia and the CIS.

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