A few comms industry veterans still remember when Hill+Knowlton was the largest PR firm in the world.
Those days are long gone, and the WPP agency has slipped to seventh in the global rankings. Positive references in Martin Sorrell’s annual financial bulletins — a bellwether of success for WPP firms — have been few and far between.
But there were signs of optimism in 2016, and the agency got a nod of approval from Sir Martin in the year-end roundup when he said "H+K Strategies has improved."
Much of this stemmed from revenue growth of 26% at Group SJR, a digital and content consultancy acquired by H+K in 2013 that outstripped overall growth by a mile. Indeed, word has it the Alex Jutkowitz-helmed firm now employs as many people as H+K in New York, PR’s biggest market, if not more.
The ambitious Jutkowitz had already caught Sorrell’s eye and been appointed CEO of WPP marketing agency Truffle Pig and Colloquial, a content marketing partnership with ad sibling JWT.
In May, he was upped to U.S. CEO at H+K by global boss Jack Martin, who noted: "SJR was a dominating force in our success and growth in 2016."
Martin — and Sorrell — will count on Jutkowitz spreading his SJR magic across all of H+K’s operations in the future.