LONDON: Hill and Knowlton moved closer to total global integration this week, by appointing Paul Taafe president of the company's entire international operation.
Taafe, who will continue as president and CEO of H&K Europe, Middle East, Africa, will take on the additional role of president of Hill and Knowlton, Inc. this week.
Taafe will now oversee the Asian operation, previously run by Clif Kagawa, who this week announced he will be moving to rival Burson Marsteller, where he will be chairman and CEO of the firm's Asia-Pacific region. Kagawa will start on January 1, 1999.
Taafe's first duty in the newly created position is to take a look at H&K's global structure. At present the firm is divided into five global divisions: USA; UK, Africa and Europe; Latin America; Canada; and Asia.
The re-structuring may move Asia into the UK, Africa and Europe division overseen by Taafe.
According to Hill and Knowlton, Inc. chairman and CEO, Howard Paster, the move is driven by the need to 'eliminate bureacracy and reduce the obstacles to cross-regional strategy.
'Adding a senior manager at this level is the next natural step in the evolution of how we conduct business on behalf of our worldwide clients,' added Paster. 'Given our clients' increasing globalization, we must be able to recognize and respond to their needs regardless of geography.
This is a big chance to test the whole premise of a global structure that bit further.'
At B&M, the appointment of Kagawa means Ferry de Bakker, who runs the agency's Asian operation, will step into a global role as vice chairman.
Bakker will turn his attention to increasing the number of worldwide clients.