FOCUS: INTERNET; PROFILE: Karen Moyse, Hill and Knowlton; New gun on H&K’s board

A role at the top provides the latest PR challenge for Karen Moyse

A role at the top provides the latest PR challenge for Karen Moyse

Karen Moyse’s promotion last week to the new post of deputy chief

executive at Hill and Knowlton comes as no surprise to former

colleagues. David Wynne-Morgan, for one, would have given her the top

job four years ago. As chief executive for Europe, Middle East and

Africa until 1994, he wanted to make Moyse UK chief executive, but she

wanted to start a family and the job went to David McLaren instead.

‘She’s one of the most outstanding people in the business,’ says Wynne-

Morgan. ‘She’s young, has a marvellous brain, and, unusually for someone

with a strategic role, is a wonderful trainer of people. Her promotion

presumably makes her chief executive designate.’

Moyse will need all those talents to achieve the objectives she has set

- to double H&K’s business growth over the next three years, make the

agency a top three performer in every specialist area, and overhaul the

way it services its clients.

‘What we are seeing is a new breed of client emerging in the

marketplace,’ she explains. ‘They understand that there isn’t a simple

answer to one problem or one team that can do everything. They are not

just looking for one guru to look after the business, they want a

combination of gurus and part of my job is to improve team work across

the board.’

Having spent ten years at the ‘sharp end’ of PR with H&K, Moyse thinks

she has the right qualifications for the job. ‘I’ve been in most parts

of the company and I know from the coal face what makes it work and how

to make it happen. It’s really a question of been there, done that, with

room for improvement.’

Her PR career began in 1980 as a secretary at Burson-Marsteller. ‘It was

in the days of the yellow and green filing cabinets in North Row when it

had what I felt was more of an entrepreneurial culture,’ recalls Moyse.

Promoted to account executive, she worked with joint managing director

Frank Barnard, now a consultant to Fleishman-Hillard. ‘She was an

exceptional presenter and backed it up with being extremely thorough

with detail,’ remembers Barnard. ‘She was straight forward with no

pretension and the clients loved it. She was a star then and clearly is

still a star now.’

Wanting to do the business of marketing rather than work with marketers,

Moyse spent a ‘painful, but useful’ two years at Time magazine. ‘Office

politics were horrendous,’ she laughs. ‘These people didn’t just stab

you in the back they stabbed you in the front as well.’ Moving back into

PR, she joined H&K as an account director and rose swiftly through the

ranks until the birth of her first child in 1993 forced her to step down

as managing director of the marketing communications division and take

on a part time role as deputy MD. Following the birth of her second

child in 1995, Moyse returned full time to H&K in January this year.

The two year gap has not blunted Moyse’s enthusiasm for the PR business.

If anything, she argues, it has given her a greater insight into what

is, essentially, a people oriented business. ‘I’m a great believer that

if you don’t do other things you can’t do the job of PR very well

because you don’t have any input or creativity,’ she says. ‘One spin-off

of having a family is that you become better at understanding a target

audience because you are living within it and not in your ivory tower in

London where you don’t see a real mum or child from one year to the


Still only 34, Moyse is keen to move on. ‘It’s a young business and I’m

in a hurry,’ she says. ‘I’ve had a few years where I’ve learnt a great

deal but I’ve not been able to push upwards.’ She admits to being

nervous about the new job but sees that as just another challenge. ‘If

there wasn’t a slight fear factor you may as well give up because it

wouldn’t be interesting,’ she says. ‘I’ve never been bored at Hill and



1980 Secretary, Burson-Marsteller

1984 Marketing executive, Time magazine

1986 Account director, Hill and Knowlton

1991 Manging director, Hill and Knowlton marketing communications

1996 Deputy chief executive, Hill and Knowlton

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