NEW YORK—Hill & Knowlton has named U.S. president and chief executive MaryLee Sachs to the new position of U.S. chairman, with agency chairman and chief executive Paul Taaffe taking greater responsibility for the firm’s U.S. operations.
Sachs, who was named CEO in October of 2001, will be responsible for the firm’s U.S. practices and will lead the global marketing communications practice. The firm’s general managers, meanwhile, will report to Taaffe. There are no immediate plans to appoint a full-time chief executive.
The move is intended to accomplish two things: first, it will free Sachs to devote more time to the firm’s marketing communications practice, which has been making a comeback over the past 12 months, thanks to new business from clients such as Mary Kay, Feld Entertainment, and Quiznos; and second it will attempt to duplicate the success Sachs and Taaffe enjoyed while working together in Europe, where H&K is among the top public relations brands. In recent years, the agency’s growth in the U.S. has lagged that in Europe and other part of the world.
In an internal memo, Taaffe told staff that the U.S. economy is “still fickle,” and that the decision is “another key step in the turnaround process.”
Tom Hoog, the firm’s current chairman, will serve as a senior counselor.