Aarti Shah 21 Jul 2014 // 4:25PM GMT
NEW YORK – Hill+Knowlton Strategies US head Andy Weitz is stepping down after only a year in the role, with the firm consolidating its Americas leadership under Canada CEO Mike Coates.
Weitz’s decision to leave triggered the firm’s global CEO Jack Martin to start the process of consolidating the Americas, after following a similar process in EMEA and Asia-Pacific.
H+K promoted Weitz to US CEO in May 2013 when Dan Bartlett joined Walmart as its new corporate affairs head. A six-year veteran of H+K, Weitz — like Bartlett before him — came from the Texas public affairs firm Public Strategies (PSI) that effectively took over H+K in 2010. In a statement, H+K noted that “Weitz is choosing to return to his entrepreneurial roots and planning to spend more time with his young family.”
Meanwhile, Coates is a 30-year H+K veteran who has led the firm’s Canadian presence since 1995, served on its global advisories and since earlier this year has been overseeing the agency’s global practices. Previously based in Ottawa, Coates will now relocate to New York for his new role, effective immediately.
His remit now expands from Canada’s 200 employees across nine offices to almost 900 employees, in 29 offices across eight countries: Canada, the United States (and Puerto Rico), Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico.
While Coates will also be the US head amid Weitz’s departure, he plans to eventually hire a new country lead — although no timeline was given. Coates has also promoted Goldy Hyder, president of H+K Canada, to president and CEO. Both Hyder and Antonio Tamayo, president and CEO of Latin America, now report to Coates. A spokesperson for H+K says no further restructuring is planned as part of the leadership transition.
“While there was no set time frame for when this unification would be made, when Andy indicated he was choosing to leave, it signaled for me now was an ideal time,” Martin said in a statement. “With regional unification complete we have a global organization that is more integrated and better able to quickly deploy the best talent and resources around the world.”
In January, H+K announced that its 16 operations across China, India and the rest of Asia-Pac were being unified under Vivian Lines who was named chairman of the region. Meanwhile in May, H+K announced it would consolidate EMEA under Lars Erik Grønntun.
H+K’s Americas business also includes research and analytics capabilities with RDI, public affairs shops Ascentum and Dewey Square Group, boutique tech firm Blanc & Otus and content and digital agency Group SJR.