Hill & Knowlton names Luce global COO

NEW YORK: The leadership shake-up at Hill & Knowlton continues as the firm announced that former Weber Shandwick executive Ken Luce has been named global COO.

NEW YORK: The leadership shake-up at Hill & Knowlton continues as the firm announced that former Weber Shandwick executive Ken Luce has been named global COO.

Paul Taaffe, global CEO; MaryLee Sachs, chair and director of the worldwide marketing communications practice; and Tony Burgess-Webb, CMO, have separately announced plans in the last week to leave Hill & Knowlton.

The merger between Hill & Knowlton and Public Strategies, both WPP Group agencies, went into effect January 1. 

In the new role for the firm, Luce oversees the firm's growth strategy, best practices for client services, marketing, and HR. He will split his time between New York and Dallas. Gene Reineke retains his position as US COO, according to Lori Robinson, SVP of marketing communications at Hill & Knowlton.

Luce reports to Jack Martin, the veteran political adviser who founded Public Strategies before selling the firm to WPP in 2006. Martin was named global chairman and CEO of Hill & Knowlton following the news of Taaffe's departure.

Luce, who said he has known Martin for years, added that Hill & Knowlton offered him a "unique opportunity" to take on a global role with the firm.

Luce served as president of global client management and Weber Shandwick Southwest until October, when he said that he planned to “look for other opportunities outside of Weber.” He had worked for the firm for 15 years.

Weber Shandwick promoted Jody Venturoni to president of Weber Shandwick Southwest in October.

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