Cripps Expected to Replace Bergen at Council
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Cripps Expected to Replace Bergen at Council

The Council of Public Relations Firms is expected to announce this week that Kathy Cripps, currently head of the U.S. healthcare practice at Hill & Knowlton, will succeed Jack Bergen as the group’s president.

Paul Holmes

NEW YORK, January 7—The Council of Public Relations Firms is expected to announce this week that Kathy Cripps, currently head of the U.S. healthcare practice at Hill & Knowlton, will succeed Jack Bergen as the group’s president.
 
The Council moved quickly to find a replacement for Bergen after he announced in December that he was leaving to become senior vice president of corporate affairs and marketing at Siemens. Two early candidates for the job—Ketchum chairman Dave Drobis and former Porter Novelli chief executive Bob Druckenmiller—declined the position, and the search committee headed by Fleishman-Hillard chairman John Graham talked with several candidates, with Cripps quickly emerging as the favorite.
 
“We had a lot of people come out of the woodwork who were very interested in the job,” says Graham. “I was very pleasantly surprised.”
 
Graham would not confirm that Cripps had been offered the job, but another senior Council member says Cripps became a consensus choice because she has experience working in both large and midsize agencies. “A lot of the people we talked about, as soon as their names came up there was an objection from someone who had worked with them in the past and didn’t think they were the right person for the job.”
 
Cripps was known to many of the people on the search committee from her role as chair of the Counselors Academy of the Public Relations Society of America in 2000, and has the respect of both large and small agency leaders. That’s important at a time when some smaller firms are complaining that the Council’s agenda is dominated by the global agencies.
 
Cripps began her career as a dietitian and worked in marketing communications for Nestle and Farberware and worked in the agency business at Burson-Marsteller and Creamer Dickson Basford before founding Sciens Worldwide Public Relations, the PR subsidiary of healthcare advertising agency Nelson Communications. Cripps led Sciens for nine years before joining H&K as head of its U.S. healthcare practice in February of 2000.
 
A formal announcement is expected within a week.
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