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Hill & Knowlton

Roll Call: Former Obama Ad Director Joins H&K, and more

H&K's Bleeker

Even more change at Hill & Knowlton to announce – Andrew Bleeker has joined the firm as global digital practice director. He will report to Jack Martin, H&K chairman and CEO. The previous director, Julie Atherton, is now Martin’s global senior adviser on integrated communications.

Bleeker was the founder and principal at Bully Pulpit Interactive and served as director of Internet advertising for Obama for America during the President’s 2008 campaign. He was responsible for all of the online advertising for the campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Dewey Square Group has named Karen Breslau principal in the communications practice in California. She was recently the director of executive comms for the office of the president of the University of California. She has also served at Newsweek‘s San Francisco bureau chief.

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Luce Named H&K COO

More leadership changes at Hill & Knowlton. Ken Luce has been named global COO of the firm, reporting to the firm’s new global chairman and CEO Jack Martin. In the role, he will focus on growth and best practices in client services, marketing, and HR.

Previously, Luce was president of global client management at Weber Shandwick where he created management programs and devised best practices for the firm’s multi-national clients.

We spoke with Luce today about the changes, the merger with Public Strategies, which went into effect January 1, and the impact on the firm.

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H&K CEO Taaffe Stepping Down

Paul Taaffe, Hill & Knowlton’s chairman and CEO, is stepping down from his post. Taaffe has been with the firm 18 years and has served as CEO and chair since 2002, PRWeek reports.

It was announced in November that Hill & Knowlton and Public Strategies would merge. That merge took effect on January 1. Jack Martin, founder and chairman of Public Strategies, became global executive chairman of H&K. Martin is now also global CEO.

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H&K Takes Majority Stake in Turkish Firm

Hill & Knowlton has acquired a majority stake in Turkish firm Global Tanitim Halkla Iliskiler A.S. The firm will be rebranded as Global Hill & Knowlton.

Global Tanitim was founded in 1989 by Ceyda Aydede,the firm’s president.

“The time is right to make this step into a country which is certain to play an important role in the region’s wider economic¬† development and which has shown impressive growth over the last years,” said H&K CEO for Middle East, Turkey, and Africa, Dave Robinson.

Cannes Lions Selects H&K as First PR Partner

The Cannes Lions International Festival, which has historically focused on advertising, has chosen Hill & Knowlton as its first PR partner.

The festival only began accepting PR award entries in 2009, which is when H&K began staging Cannes events. That year, H&K hosted a PR seminar and the first Cannes Lions tweet-up with Twitter co-founder Biz Stone. This year, they hosted another seminar, a street event, and a videoblog called Cannes Eye.

H&K and Public Strategies Will Merge

Effective January 1, 2011, Hill & Knowlton and Public Strategies will merge.

“Combining with Public Strategies gives H&K clients access to even more value as well as adding critical mass in the financial sector and research capabilities,” Paul Taaffe, global CEO of H&K, said in a statement. He will remain in his position once the merger takes place.

Jack Martin, founder and chairman of Public Strategies, will become global executive chairman of H&K and Dan Bartlett, former counselor to President George W. Bush, will become president and CEO of H&K USA as well as chairman and CEO of Public Strategies.

WPP is the parent company of both firms. Each company will retain its brand. Together the combined unit will have 2,300 employees in 83 offices scattered across 44 countries.

Twentieth Century Fox Selects H&K as AOR

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has selected Hill & Knowlton as its AOR, effective immediately. The firm will work alongside Twentieth Century Fox’s in-house team, working on corporate and consumer campaigns for film and television programming, acquisitions, and original productions on Blu-ray and DVD.

The company’s previous AOR, Bender/Helper Impact, served in that role for 17 years. They were not asked to pitch the business, but continue to represent other Fox divisions, according to Dean Bender, founding partner of the firm.

Other H&K entertainment clients include Blockbuster, Dolby (a recent addition to the firm’s roster), and THX.

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