H+K US lead Weitz to depart; Coates tapped as CEO of Americas after realignment

Andy Weitz, US president and CEO of Hill+Knowlton Strategies, will exit the firm later this summer following the completion of a global organizational realignment. Mike Coates, chairman and CEO of H+K Canada, will serve as CEO of the Americas for the firm.

Andy Weitz
Andy Weitz

NEW YORK: Andy Weitz, US president and CEO of Hill+Knowlton Strategies, will exit the firm later this summer following the completion of a global organizational realignment.

The agency has named Mike Coates, chairman and CEO of H+K Canada, as chief executive of the Americas region, effective immediately.

Weitz, who was promoted to US CEO from global co-chair of its corporate practice last May, has decided to "return to his entrepreneurial roots" and spend time with his family, according to a statement from the agency. His last day at the agency will be August 1.

Representatives from H+K were not immediately available for comment.

Before serving as global co-chair of the agency’s corporate practice, Weitz spent a year as US COO. Prior to H+K, Weitz was a senior strategist at agency predecessor Public Strategies, where he helped to lead the firm's integration with Hill & Knowlton in 2011. He also served as president of gDev, a part of software company Trilogy, for less than a year. Earlier in his career, Weitz worked at Trilogy in other roles and served as an aide to former US Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE).

The decision to promote Coates, who has led H+K Canada since 1995 and has worked for the firm for 30 years, is part of global chairman and CEO Jack Martin’s worldwide restructuring plan, the firm said in a statement. Martin is focused on refining H+K’s processes locally and making it easier to deploy talent and resources, the agency said.

alternate textMike Coates

Last November, the firm unified its 16 operations in Asia-Pacific into a regional structure with Vivian Lines as chairman. This May, H+K’s EMEA operation was also integrated into one region with Lars Erik Grønntun becoming its chairman and CEO.

H+K has lost a number of significant accounts in recent months, including Qualcomm, CA Technologies, and Salesforce in the US, which it stopped working with in February after deciding not to participate in its RFP.

The WPP agency had also previously worked with the UK arm of aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, which hired Man Bites Dog in the country to handle an integrated comms brief earlier this month after a review.

Moving from Canada to H+K’s New York office, Coates will serve as acting US president until an executive is brought on for the role. The timeline for hiring a new US president has not yet been determined.

During Coates’ time as CEO of H+K Canada, all of the firm’s global practice leaders reported to him, and will continue to do so in his new role. The Americas region is made up of 900 staffers in 29 offices in eight countries, according to the agency’s statement.

Coates has promoted Goldy Hyder, president of H+K Canada, to succeed him as president and CEO. Hyder, as well as Antonio Tamayo, president and CEO of H+K Latin America, report to Coates.

Watch: PRWeek US editor-in-chief Steve Barrett sat down with Weitz soon after he stepped into the US CEO role.

This story was updated on July 22 with more information about former H+K accounts.

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