LONDON—Per Heggenes, president and CEO of Burson-Marsteller’s U.K. operations and director of the firm’s global affiliate relations, is leaving after almost 25 years with BM to take an unspecified corporate affairs position with a Scandinavian multinational.
Heggenes has spent 24 years with Burson-Marsteller in a variety of positions, having joined the firm as an account executive in 1982. He was named country manager in his native Norway in 1992, and later became worldwide director of human resources for the firm, chief operating officer of Burson’s European operation, and chairman of the corporate practice in Europe. In his most recent role, he had oversight of knowledge development, the firm’s knowledge and research centers, company intranet and website development and was a member of the global leadership team.
His departure comes as the London office, after languishing for several years, is showing signs of increasing strength. According to Heggenes, “I came here to restructure the U.K. business two years ago, and that job is basically done. We have great leadership in all our practices and we have a very strong staff and a strong client list.”
One indication of his success is the fact that Jonathan Jordan, managing director of the European corporate and technology practices, is able to step into Heggenes’ role in the U.K. at least on an interim basis. Jordan joined the firm in 2003, after five years as head of the technology, telecommunications and media practice at Fleishman-Hillard.
Heidi Sinclair, chief executive of Burson-Marsteller Europe, said Burson would be considering internal and external candidates—including Jordan—for the permanent position, and added, “We have a great deal of momentum and we have a lot of confidence in Jonathan to build on that momentum.”
Heggenes confirmed that he had taken a senior corporate affairs position at a multinational company, and that he would continue to be based in London, but he declined to identify the company. “I wasn’t looking for a job, but this opportunity came along recently, just after I turned 50, and I thought about what I wanted to do next and was attracted to doing something different.”
He said the company was looking for someone with international experience, and that his experience working in Norway, London and New York with Burson-Marsteller made him a good fit for the job.