NEW YORK: Hill and Knowlton is bringing worldwide president Paul
Taaffe to New York, setting in motion a succession plan that will see
Taaffe take the reins from chairman and CEO Howard Paster within two
Australian-born Taaffe is moving from London to New York in early August
to work alongside Paster. Top on Taaffe’s list of priorities are growth
via acquisition and adding more international accounts. H&K already
counts Compaq and Ernst and Young among its global clients.
Taaffe is eager to make H&K’s New York office a hub for international
clients. ’We want to make our business genuinely international by
bringing the rest of the world into the US and creating two-way
traffic,’ he said.
H&K will also bring in a new New York general manager - its third in the
last 18 months - in the next few weeks.
The added firepower in NY is probably needed. According to PRWeek’s
rankings, H&K’s NY office ranked ninth in 1999, with income rising only
three per cent or pounds 500,000 to pounds 16 million. In the US, H&K’s
income increased by 20 per cent in 1999, although the firm slipped from
third to fourth place in the rankings, behind Fleishman-Hillard,
Burson-Marsteller and Shandwick.
H&K has a significant war chest earmarked for acquisitions. Taaffe said
the firm has ’not ruled out’ the purchase of an IR shop and is also
looking to expand its pharmaceutical, food, hi-tech and financial
Taaffe will tour H&K’s Northern Asia operations before arriving in NY
and will continue to lead the firm’s charge in Europe, the Middle East,
Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. He has been with the agency for