LONDON--Porter Novelli has restored the EMEA president role at the network, handing additional leadership duties to UK MD Sally Ward.
Ward takes on the EMEA leadership mantle that was last held by Jean Wyllie, who departed Porter Novelli in 2009. In addition, the firm has named Brussels and Paris MD Luc Missinne as regional director.
Ward, who succeeded Wyllie as UK MD in late 2009, will continue to lead the London office. Her promotion follows the appointment of Karen van Bergen as Porter Novelli global CEO at the start of this year.
"We’re now at a point where we really need to bring some structure into the global network," van Bergen told the Holmes Report, noting that the firm wants to contend for more multi-market business.
Acquisition strategy will form part of Ward's remit. In addition to the UK, France and Belgium, Porter Novelli's owned-office footprint in EMEA includes Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands, along with an extensive affiliate network.
"We shouldn’t be under any illusions," Ward told the Holmes Report. "Western Europe is a tough old environment, and it’s not somewhere where the big players have been investing cash.”
Ward and Missinne will aim to build a more cohesive regional offering, and strengthen the firm in key markets. Missinne, said van Bergen, will be responsible for "building certain practices", including public affairs, health, technology and consumer.
Ward's elevation means that Porter Novelli will also look to boost its London leadership team. "The onus now is to build a bench in the UK that can step up," said Ward.
Ward joined Porter Novelli after the loss of some key accounts, including BA and HP. The firm's UK operation has stabilized under her leadership, aided by the return of HP as a multi-market client last year. Prior to the three-year stint in PR recruitment which preceded her arrival at Porter Novelli, Ward spent five years at Weber Shandwick, rising to the role of European vice chairman.
The moves are the latest tangible sign of van Bergen's intent to revamp an agency that has seen some upheaval in recent years. Earlier this year, agency veteran Michael Ramah was named chief client officer, while van Bergen has also made a number of senior hires in the US.