NEW YORK: Hill & Knowlton said that global chairman and CEO Paul Taaffe has resigned from the WPP agency just days after fellow H&K veteran MaryLee Sachs announced plans to leave the firm.
Jack Martin, founding chairman of Austin, TX-based Public Strategies, has been named global chairman and CEO of H&K, effective immediately. Martin is now based in New York, where H&K has its headquarters.
H&K merged with sister WPP agency Public Strategies in November. At the time, Martin became global executive chairman of H&K and Public Strategies' Dan Bartlett was named US president and CEO of H&K.
Howard Paster, EVP of PR and public affairs at WPP, said that Martin has the "experience and stature to lead Hill & Knowlton." He also said that Taaffe's "departure is to be regretted."
Taaffe declined comment.
Taaffe spent 18 years at Hill & Knowlton, rising to his current position in 2002. Martin said in a statement that he will serve as a "senior counselor to me and the firm for the next several months as we make this transition."
Sachs, US chair and director of the firm's worldwide marketing communications practice, has worked for the WPP agency since 1984. H&K confirmed January 7 that she intended to leave the agency and that a search is underway to hire a new leader of marketing communications.
H&K also announced that H&K veteran and CMO Tony Burgess-Webb plans to retire in February.