When Andy Laurence took over as chief executive of Hill & Knowlton’s EMEA region in 2004, the firm was already among the leaders in the European marketplace, but at the time what that really meant was that a strong London hub won most of the business and drove most of the strategy on accounts that were served by a network of offices around the region.
It would have been easy for Laurence to continue along the same lines. He had, after all, served previously as the CEO of the powerhouse London office and knew its strengths. Instead, Laurence committed to a more international approach, investing in new offices in key markets—an acquisition in Russia was one of his last acts before stepping down from the regional CEO role in 2008; strengthening top talent; and developing new approaches to handling multimarket accounts, wherever they were located.
By so doing, he cemented H&K’s status as the leading multinational public relations consultancy in the region—it was our first EMEA Consultancy of the Year during the second year of his tenure—and earned his place among the handful of practitioners who have received our SABRE Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement.
Laurence’s leadership also included a commitment to professional development that saw the establishment in partnership with coaches from McKinsey of a new training approach for the firm’s consultants, First Chair, and resulted in H&K alumni taking up senior leadership roles at clients such as Wrigley, Marks & Spencer, First Solar and RWE Power.
More recently, in his new role as worldwide chair of H&K’s corporate practice committee, he has continued to support many of the firm’s largest international clients. His experience includes providing economic development counsel to clients including South Africa, Dubai and Newcastle, and he continues to provide advice to the Egyptian IT industry as it seeks to attracts jobs and investment during the country’s transition to democracy.
He also works with a number of multinationals from emerging markets, including Statoil, Saudi Aramco and Sabic.
Laurence joined Hill & Knowlton in 1989 from the London Docklands Development Corporation where he was part of the team behind Europe’s largest regeneration project and the development of Canary Wharf.