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H+K Strategies

Remembering Former Hill+Knowlton Chairman/CEO Bob Gray

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Over the weekend we learned of the passing of Bob Gray: Nebraska-born author, lobbyist, presidential adviser, founder of Gray and Co. and onetime CEO/chairman of Hill+Knowlton Strategies. He was 92.

While Gray began his career in politics before joining H+K, he is best known as “first flack” for President Ronald Reagan. Gray worked on Reagan’s campaign, co-chaired his inaugural committee and went on to become the prototypical lobbyist.

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H + K, Booz & Co. Grow Content Marketing Wings

In yet another sign of the increasingly intimate (one might say co-dependent) relationship between PR and marketing, two top firms formed partnerships with content creation/digital branding agencies this week.

On Tuesday, Hill + Knowlton Strategies announced its acquisition of Group SJR, a New York/LA-based company focused on attracting audiences and building brand loyalty via strategic insights, “audience curation” and—most importantly—the creation and management of custom content.

The following day, Booz & Company made its new partnership with international branding/advertising agency Leagas Delaney official. LD is a London-based agency specializing in services ranging from advertising creative to media buys.

In both cases, the partners aim to create a sort of super-firm by fusing two or more distinct agencies in order to more completely serve each client’s diverse content/distribution needs—like a digital Power Ranger.

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H+K Strategies’ New Offering Targets Political, Financial, Media Influencers

Hill+Knowlton Strategies has launched Influence Point, a new offering for the agency’s U.S. clients targeting political, financial, and media influencers with online advertising. The H+K research and digital teams have developed a proprietary methodology to serve up display, mobile, and video ads to the niche group of target influentials for a client’s campaign.

Andrew Bleeker, global digital practice director, and global chief technology officer Josh Hendler will manage the product, which will be run in collaboration with the Research+Data Insights group.

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H+K Strategies Working with Best Buy After CEO Resignation

A sharp-eyed tipster saw this story on the Bloomberg site in which a spokesperson from Hill + Knowlton Strategies, Claire Koeneman, the firm’s EVP and head of the financial comms practice, responded to questions about the abrupt resignation of Best Buy’s CEO Brian Dunn. Koeneman was named H+K’s financial practice lead back in June.

We contacted H+K about the story and while the agency confirmed that it is working with the troubled consumer electronics retailer following the CEO’s departure, it wouldn’t give any further detail.

When Dunn’s resignation was first announced, the company said it was due to the need for new leadership. However, now the media is reporting that there’s an investigation into his “personal conduct.”

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H+K Strategies Launches Corporate Advisory Group

Hill + Knowlton Strategies has launched the Corporate Advisory Group, a division focused on reputation and public risk at the highest levels of business. The group will be led by H+K’s global chairman and CEO Jack Martin and London-based global vice chair of the corporate practice, Andrew Laurence.

Just last week, the firm announced that it had launched a research division and merged with a firm in Russia, expanding its reach in the region. The firm is also dealing with a possible court case involving Weber Shandwick.

H+K Strategies Merges in Russia, Launches Research Group

Hill+Knowlton Strategies has a lot going on these days.

Today they’ve announced a merger with The PBN Company, which will add offices across Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and across the Commonwealth of Independent States. Offices in this region will operate under the name PBN Hill+Knowlton Strategies. In Moscow, where both companies have offices, H+K will merge operations with PBN. In D.C., PBN will merge operations with H+K offices.

WPP bought 49.9 percent of The PBN Company in 2007. This merger is the result of the additional 25.1 percent purchase in the company. PBN execs Peter Necarsulmer, Susan Thurman, and Myron Wasylyk will keep the remaining 25 percent stake.

And, H+K has launched a new research and analytics organization, Research+Data Insights, that will be headquartered in the H+K New York office and have 12 locations around the world. Dr. Michael Lustina will oversee U.S. research and global operations; David Iannelli will oversee global research; and Dr. Peter Zandan is global vice chairman.

Weber Shandwick, H+K Strategies Headed to Court

Weber Shandwick has been granted a temporary restraining order against H+K Strategies, the firm’s COO Ken Luce, and its EVP Jody Venturoni. Weber filed court documents in Dallas alleging breach of contract by Luce and Venturoni and misappropriation of confidential info by the two execs and H+K.

Luce joined H+K about a year ago; Venturoni joined the firm last month. Both previously worked for Weber for more than a decade. There have been other moves from Weber to H+K in recent months as well, notes The Holmes Report. The court filing shows that Weber alerted Luce to an investigation in December 2011 and both he and H+K responded in writing.

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