Key figures to leave H&K to start new consultancy

Hill & Knowlton London deputy CEO John Rivett and EMEA vice-president of marketing and business development Dominic Shales are to quit the agency.

Both Rivett and Shales are currently serving out notice periods and plan to establish a new consultancy together.

H&K chairman David McLaren confirmed to PRWeek this week that the pair were serving out notice periods. Rivett and Shales, both H&K stalwarts who have worked at the agency for seven and nine years respectively, declined to comment on their departures.

McLaren, who stressed that he ‘wished them well’, said Shales was scheduled to leave H&K at the end of this month, but Rivett’s final departure date was yet to be decided.

McLaren added that Joel Cere, formerly head of new business (EMEA) for the Netcoms division, would assume Shales’s role on an interim basis that ‘may become permanent’.

Cere has been working alongside Shales in the past fortnight in what McLaren called a ‘transition period’.

He said that a decision to replace Rivett had not yet been made and that ‘other hirings’ would help inform a decision on H&K London’s future top-level structure.

Rivett joined H&K in 1996 as an account director from Shilland Communications and Shales joined as a graduate trainee.

Given Rivett’s background in consumer PR and Shales’s experience across the corporate spectrum, it seems likely that the pair’s planned new consultancy will operate in those sectors.

McLaren said the pair both continued to ‘actively work for H&K’, adding that their roles were not client-specific and were focused on business development.

McLaren said H&K had made 11 ‘board- or just-below-board’-level hires in the past 18 months and the agency was in ‘buoyant’ health.

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