DALLAS: Former Hill+Knowlton Strategies COO Ken Luce has founded his own PR firm in Dallas called LDWW Group.
Luce, who joined H+K in January 2011 after spending 15 years at Weber Shandwick, said he has wanted to launch his own firm for several years. He left H+K last summer and LDWW officially opened at the beginning of this year.Luce said he worked with Jack Martin, global chairman and CEO of H+K, who was “very gracious” in the transition period when he formed LDWW.
“This would not have worked for us without [Martin] working with me to do something I really wanted to do in a time that worked for me,” he explained.
"We wish Ken Luce well and will have no further comment on this issue,” Martin said in a statement.
LDWW and H+K are partnering on a number of clients, said Luce. Six staffers from H+K joined the new firm in January as founding members, including Jody Venturoni, former EVP at H+K. Venturoni, now partner at LDWW, and Luce worked together previously at both H+K and Weber.
Some of LDWW's service areas include consumer marketing, branding, media relations, digital, and reputation management with a focus on oil and gas, travel and tourism, and sports. The firm will work with both large companies and start-ups, said Luce.
Venturoni said one of her goals for LDWW is to “fill the mid-size agency niche in integrated marketing communication,” which she said has opened up recently because of consolidations.
LDWW will partner with other firms as business grows, said Luce, who added that his objective is to stay ahead of the market and focus on creativity and great client work.
One LDWW client is Omni Hotels & Resorts. Luce declined to name other accounts, but said the firm has grown to 10-plus clients.
The name “LDWW” does not refer to anything in particular. It was chosen because Luce said he did not want anyone's name represented in title so the work will speak for itself.
“I had to think about it as, ‘What does Google mean?'” explains Venturoni. “Nobody knew when it first was founded, but now it's become synonymous with much more than it was in the beginning. We hope LDWW Group becomes synonymous with great work, great clients, and great people.”
Luce and Venturoni, along with H+K, were sued by Weber in January 2012. Weber alleged that the executives, both former Weber employees, stole confidential information, clients, and employees.
Weber and H+K settled the legal issue out of court in June 2012.
Luce said the decision to leave H+K and start his own agency was not prompted by the lawsuit or the settlement that resolved it.
“It had nothing to do with my decision,” he said. “In fact, it made me think longer about going on my own.”