NEW YORK: Following the lead of parent company WPP, Hill & Knowlton has created a new senior management position with the aim of retaining and nurturing its top talent.
Ellen Shedlarz, a former McKinsey executive, began as chief talent officer last week. She will join H&K's US executive committee, and work closely with global CEO Paul Taaffe and MaryLee Sachs, US CEO.
Shedlarz, who has no PR experience, said, "The resources of professional-services firms are human. The focus is on developing new leadership."
While one element of her job will be recruitment from outside the agency, the emphasis will be on providing new career opportunities for H&K's star talent.
"I'd hope that people don't stay in a job just for the compensation," she said. "We're there to ask what kind of roles people want, be it a practice area, a geography, or client service."
Shedlarz is hoping to keep channels of communication open both up and down the organization, and wants staff to feel comfortable enough to discuss their careers with her.
She joined the company from Mercer Delta, a management consultancy, and was an administrative partner at McKinsey.
Her appointment follows that of Beth Axelrod, who joined WPP in the same role in June. Axelrod was principal at McKinsey.