H+K appoints leaders for West, East, and Central regions

Hill+Knowlton Strategies has tapped senior leaders Erin Gentry, Claire Koeneman, and Howard Opinsky to take on the added roles of heading the West Coast, Central, and East Coast regions, respectively.

H+K Strategies global chairman and CEO Jack Martin
H+K Strategies global chairman and CEO Jack Martin

NEW YORK: Hill+Knowlton Strategies has tapped senior leaders Erin Gentry, Claire Koeneman, and Howard Opinsky to take on the added roles of heading the West Coast, Central, and East Coast regions, respectively.

Gentry will continue to serve as global co-lead of client service, while taking on the West Coast regional responsibilities. Koeneman will also continue in her role as GM of the Chicago office and head of financial communications, in addition to leading H+K’s Central region.

Opinsky, previously GM of the Washington, DC office and head of the public affairs practice, will lead the firm’s corporate practice going forward, as well as the East Coast region. He succeeds former corporate practice leader Robert Ludke, who will now focus on governance and sustainability and serve as interim GM for the Washington, DC office.

Gentry, Koeneman, and Opinsky will work very closely with the GMs in their respective areas, who now report to them.

H+K EVP James Fuller will step into the public affairs practice leadership role, succeeding Opinsky. He is based in the firm’s Dallas office.

This is the first major change Coates has implemented at the firm since taking the helm from former US president and CEO Andy Weitz in July.  Weitz joined insurance and risk management company Aon as SVP of global marketing and communications earlier this month.

"The latest change reduced the number of people directly reporting to me in the US, but it is still broad enough for me to effect change in each region and in the key practice areas we work in, as well as work with Canada and Latin America," said Coates.  

Coates, who formerly led H+K Canada since 1995, was promoted as part of global chairman and CEO Jack Martin’s worldwide restructuring plan, the firm said in a statement at the time. Martin is focused on refining H+K’s processes locally and making it easier to deploy talent and resources, the agency said.

H+K has lost a number of significant accounts in recent months, including Qualcomm, CA Technologies, and Salesforce in the US, which it stopped working with in February after deciding not to participate in its RFP.

Earlier this month, H+K appointed Chris Winans, previously with Promontory Financial Group, as GM of its New York office; and in August, the firm hired former NetApp comms veteran Jodi Baumann as EVP in the dual role of US tech practice head and San Francisco GM.

This story was updated on October 28 with quotes from Coates.

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