H+K debuts Washington-based crisis practice

WASHINGTON: Hill+Knowlton Strategies has launched a crisis practice in its Washington office.

WASHINGTON: Hill+Knowlton Strategies has launched a crisis practice in its Washington office.

Greg Hitt, an MD at Public Strategies and later H+K, is leading the offering as SVP, said Howard Opinsky, EVP and general manager of H+K's DC office.

Opinsky added that he came up with the idea of launching a formal crisis practice after starting work at the firm two months ago.

“A lot of the crisis work stemmed from government activity, such as enforcement action or investigation,” Opinsky said.

Noticing this common thread, he said he felt the firm should take a more organized approach to deal with the work and hired Hitt to lead the offering. Opinsky declined to say how large the unit's staff is, noting that number could shift depending on the workload. A notable client for the group is Best Buy, with Hitt working as the point person on that account.

The decision to start a formal practice comes as H+K global chairman Jack Martin seeks to bolster the firm's crisis management business, calling the agency's work in the area “a well-kept secret.”

Opinsky also promoted Ron Hutcheson, another former MD at Public Strategies, to SVP and leader of the office's corporate practice, a long-vacant post.

“[Hutcheson] has a strong point of view and will use his perspective to provide strong strategic counsel,” Opinsky said.

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