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H&K merge with Public Strategies

The communications firm Hill & Knowlton is merging with Public Strategies, a business-advisory firm focused on reputation management
The New York City-based communications firm Hill & Knowlton (H&K) is merging with Public Strategies, an Austin, Texas business-advisory firm focused on reputation management. The firms are sibling companies under their parent corporation, WPP.

Following the merger, which is effective January 1, Public Strategies founder and chairman Jack Martin will become global executive chairman of H&K. Public Strategies president and CEO Dan Bartlett will expand his role to become president and CEO of H&K US as well as chairman and CEO of Public Strategies. Paul Taaffe will remain in his role as H&K's global CEO.

Martin founded Public Strategies in 1988 to advise companies on building trust with key public audiences through campaign management, transaction management and crisis management. He is also a senior advisor to the Democratic National Committee. Earlier in his career, he was a vice president at Davis and Henderson.

Bartlett was a counsellor to President George W Bush before joining Public Strategies. He was responsible for all aspects of communications for the president and his administration and led the White House press office, speechwriting office and office of communications. Before the White House, Bartlett worked at Karl Rove & Associates, a consulting firm that advised candidates for state and federal office. 

Following the merger, the combined company will have around 2,300 employees and 83 offices in 44 countries. 

The merged company will offer "strong financial services, public affairs, research and digital capabilities aimed at chairmen, chief executive officers, chief marketing officers, and corporate communications executives in leading global, multi-national, regional and local companies," WPP CEO Martin Sorrell said in a statement. 

23rd November 2010

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