SAN FRANCISCO — Hill + Knowlton’s global head of tech Josh Reynolds is now CEO of sister firm Blanc & Otus with the task of revitalizing the tech boutique.
While B&O worked with emerging superstars like Facebook in the mid-2000s, the agency’s overall profile in Silicon Valley has diminished over the years.
In 2011, B&O CEO Mark Hampton and COO Anna Leonard left and the agency's Austin GM Richard Weber took over as CEO. With Reynolds onboard, Weber will join H+K’s tech practice in Texas. Amanda Groty, who works alongside Reynolds as H+K's global tech co-lead, will now take the helm from London.
B&O was founded in 1985 and acquired by WPP-owned H+K in 1999. Today the firm has about 25 people, primarily in San Francisco.
While the agency once had offices in Boston and Austin, it will now operate only in San Francisco with a focus on emerging growth companies. This contrasts its market position against H+K's tendency to work with established entities, such as, Polycom and Dolby. Oracle is among B&O’s longest-standing client, others on its roster include Castlight Health, Xactly, Bitcasa and Lyris.
“I love building stuff and this is a chance to do that with an entrepreneurial group that is focused purely on tech,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds, who has been acting CEO for the past three months, plans to target prospects that are applying disruptive technologies to vertical markets. For instance, companies that are applying cleantech, mobile, social and big data/analytics to sectors like transportation, CPG or energy.
In April, B&O’s San Francisco GM Brad Langley departed to join Trainer Communications. Since then the firm’s four VPs have shared duties of running the office, which will continue, Reynolds said. No additional leadership changes are planned.
“It is my ambition to grow Blanc & Otus significantly over the next five years and it’s likely you will hear about us expanding into other markets,” Reynolds said. He will report into H+K’s newly-appointed US CEO Andy Weitz and will continue to be available for client counsel to H+K.
In 2003, Reynolds joined H+K and B&O, spearheading analyst relations practices at both firms before going full-time at H+K four years ago.