SYDNEY--Hill & Knowlton has ended its legal action against Edelman Australia, after two former H&K staffers apologised for poaching staff and clients.

The apologies, from former CEO Michelle Hutton and former consumer director Anna MacIntosh, form part of an out-of-court settlement, the terms of which have not been made public. Hutton and MacIntosh both joined Edelman Australia last year.

H&K commenced the legal action against Hutton, MacIntosh and Edelman earlier this year, claiming that the duo had breached contractual obligations by poaching clients after departing for the rival firm.

WPP has made the apologies from Hutton and MacIntosh, reproduced below, public:

“Following my departure from Hill and Knowlton Australia Pty Limited (H&K), I was involved in soliciting certain clients and staff of H&K. This occurred in the course of my employment by Edelman Public Relations Worldwide Pty Limited. I recognise that my conduct was not appropriate in the circumstances and I apologise to H&K unreservedly.”

Hutton’s departure for Edelman last year has helped kickstart aggressive growth at the firm, while H&K has fared less well. Last month, H&K’s Australia operation was part of a global restructure of reporting lines, becoming part of a new cross-regional unit headed by Dubai-based CEO Dave Robinson.