Bates, who has led Hotwire for five years, will take the new senior advisory role at Enero on 1 July, helping to support the company's mergers and acquisitions activities in North America.
Kernahan joined Hotwire from Eastwick Communications, as president of Hotwire North America and Australia, after its acquisition in 2016 by Enero. She was named Hotwire CEO of North America in 2019. Enero said that under her leadership, the agency has experienced record growth.
Brent Scrimshaw, chief executive of Enero Group, said: “I would like to thank Barbara for her leadership and drive in Hotwire being the successful, global technology communications consultancy that it is today. She has been an innovative, respected and transformational leader across nearly three decades in the global communications industry. I am delighted she will remain in the group.
“This change provides an excellent opportunity for Heather Kernahan to lead the next phase of growth for Hotwire. Heather has demonstrated incredible leadership in tackling the challenges and opportunities of a rapidly-growing business in Hotwire USA. Heather has the skills, experience and appetite for growth and her appointment demonstrates the deep bench strength of the Hotwire leadership team. I am confident she will continue to drive the business’ momentum and push Hotwire to even greater heights."
Kernahan said: “There is no more exciting industry to be in than technology and I’m thrilled to lead the Hotwire team as we continue to grow. We have ambitious plans to bring more value to our fast growth and global tech clients, who are looking for an alternative to the big multinational agencies. Barbara has led a culture, team and business that is sought after by the largest tech companies in the world and I’m honoured to now lead this organisation. With 20 years behind us, we feel that we’re just getting started.”
Bates said: “I’ve had the privilege to work with so many amazing people during my time at Hotwire, and I’m exceptionally proud of what we’ve managed to create together. Hotwire is already one of the world’s most highly-regarded tech communications businesses and with Heather’s leadership, it has never been better positioned to grow further. I’m excited to stay connected to the Enero Group and I look forward to continue building on the Group’s strong momentum and ambition.”
Hotwire generated global revenue of $41.7m in 2020, up two per cent on the previous year, according to PRWeek's Agency Business Report.
In April, the agency announced the acquisition of McDonald Butler Associates, the UK-based b2b sales and marketing agency, for £3.5m.
(More to come)