Aarti Shah 17 May 2017 // 12:31AM GMT
NEW YORK — Alexander Jutkowitz is taking over as Hill + Knowlton’s US CEO, as Beth Balsam leaves the firm amid its most recent restructuring.
Jutkowitz joined the WPP-owned firm three years ago when it bought his content agency SJR that continues to operate independently with Jutkowitz at the helm. Since then, he’s taken on several other roles within WPP as CEO of new ventures Truffle Pig and Colloquial, as well as chief strategist at H+K.
In an internal memo the Holmes Report obtained, Jutkowitz describes the storytelling methodology used at SJR and his plans for “kicking off a similar process at H+K.” He goes on to say this “transition will be a huge opportunity for all of us to develop new skills and work in parts of the businesses that are new to us...We’ll also be working as a single company, convening talent and resources from everywhere in the US, and measuring our profits and losses in the same way.”
Meanwhile, in a separate memo on the promotion, global CEO Jack Martin points to SJR’s 26% growth in 2016, noting the network's global growth was 2.6%. He calls Jutkowitz “transformation personified.”
“I could not be more bullish about the future of H+K US under Alex’s leadership,” Martin says in the memo also obtained by the Holmes Report. “SJR continues to be a standout performer, not just within H+K but all of WPP. As I’ve noted, SJR was a dominating force in our success and growth in 2016.”
SJR will remain independent, with Jutkowitz at the helm, but there will be “deepened and increased interaction between H+K and SJR through this appointment.” H+K’s global co-lead for client services Erin Gentry has been named US president.
Former US CEO Beth Balsam — who was brought into the firm almost two years ago by the newly retired Americas CEO Mike Coates — is leaving H+K. Coates hired Balsam for her background in consumer marketing to build that side of the business.
“More recently, the firm started down a path toward a new structure and vision,” Balsam says in an agency-wide email also obtained by the Holmes Report. “While I was offered another opportunity within the agency – which I seriously considered, in no small part because of how much I’ve enjoyed working with and tackling new projects with so many of you – I ultimately decided that this time of reinvention for the firm was a good time to head down a different path myself.”