NEW YORK: Hill & Knowlton is in the process of reorganizing its New York research branch, making numerous staff changes and shifting resources to other regions.
Sources have confirmed that there have been several departures from H&K's New York research team while it is in the process of being reoriented to provide a more worldwide focus.
The changes come on the heels of a merger between H&K and sister WPP agency Public Strategies in January.
“With the merger we're actually taking the research offering that's been a key part of our services and are expanding it on a global scale,” Dan Bartlett, president and CEO of H&K US, said. “The difference between the New York research team and other research branches was that New York focused on secondary research. Primary research is where the real growth is.”
The New York research team is being reorganized to shift from secondary to primary research functions, according to Bartlett. Much of the department is also being split up, with personnel being assigned to London and other offices.
“As we grow that business and invest more into it, there are changes that are being made,” Bartlett added. “There are going to be additions and departures with any change in leadership.”
H&K's overall research capabilities are headed by Peter Zandan, global vice chairman and the worldwide research practice leader. Zandan formerly led research for Public Strategies.
Hill & Knowlton has experienced a number of changes in its senior management in recent months. Following the merger, Public Strategies CEO Jack Martin was named global chairman and CEO of H&K, replacing Paul Taaffe, while Public Strategies' Dan Bartlett also assumed his current role as H&K's US president.
That same month, Andrew Bleeker was appointed head of the agency's worldwide digital practice, replacing Julie Atherton, while Ken Luce was brought on board as global COO.
Mary Lee Sachs, chair and director of H&K's worldwide marketing communications practice, departed the firm earlier this year. CMO Tony-Burgess Webb retired in February, while SVP and director of US marketing and business development Lori Robinson left in April and SVP Mike Breslin departed in January.