NEW YORK: Howard Paster, EVP and head of PR and public affairs for agency network WPP, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 66.
Up until his passing Paster led WPP's PR division, which includes Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton, Ogilvy, and Cohn & Wolfe.
Paster served as chairman and CEO of Hill & Knowlton from 1994 through 2002. In a statement, Hill & Knowlton CEO and chairman Jack Martin noted Paster's tough and firm, yet fair and compassionate, demeanor.
“He was that rare mix of administrative efficiency and strategic brilliance,” Martin said. “No office or client was too far away and his kind touch was felt by employees all over the H&K network.”
Paster previously worked as an adviser to former President Bill Clinton and served as director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs.
In a statement, Clinton said he and his wife Hillary were saddened by Paster's passing, and will remember him for his passion, candor, and dedication to public service.
"As my Assistant for Congressional Relations, Howard made a tremendous difference in ensuring my administration was able to carry out some of our most crucial initiatives," Clinton said in the statement. "As Chief Operating Officer for Hillary in 2008, Howard worked tirelessly and gave generously of his talents. We were thrilled to see him elected President of the Little League Foundation in 2002. We are thankful for Howard's friendship and we will miss him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Gail and their family."
A number of remembrances included on Hill & Knowlton's blog show Paster will be greatly missed by those in the industry.
“Howard was always a great proponent of supporting younger members of the profession,” Paul Taaffe, who succeeded Paster as chairman and CEO of Hill & Knowlton, told PRWeek. "He was a willing mentor to anyone who asked for his help, including myself, and I'm indebted to him for that. He was a man of great integrity and civility in an industry where that isn't always the case.”
Funeral arrangements are pending.