ANN ARBOR, MI—General Motors veterans Joanne Krell and Omar Hussain, experts in private and social sector communications, have created Defy Communications to focus on mission-driven work and partner with people and organizations on issues, causes and movements that “defy convention, perception and limitation.” Krell spent nearly 15 years with General Motors, most recently as executive director of corporate communications, responsible for reputation management, executive communications, internal and external communications. Hussain most recently helped to redefine and manage the company’s corporate brand and ultimately, the corporate brand’s reputation. 

TORONTO—FleishmanHillard will merge with Omnicom sister agency High Road—an integrated marketing firm with offices in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawaand Los Angeles—to create FleishmanHillard HighRoad. The merger will be finalized by January 2018. Angela Carmichael, currently senior vice president and senior partner, general manager of FleishmanHillard's Toronto office, will assume the role of president, while High Road managing director Katherine Fletcher will be chief operations officer.

DALLAS—Founder Andy Stern has sold Sunwest Communications to Crayton Webb, former vice president of corporate communications and corporate social responsibility for Mary Kay. Webb says there will be no changes to the company’s name, location or account teams, and Stern will remain involved with the firm, supporting the transition process and Sunwest clients in his new role as senior counsel. Prior to his 12 years at Mary Kay, Webb served as chief of staff for Dallas Mayor Laura Miller and before that was a broadcast journalist.

NEW YORK—Andy Whitehouse and Andrew Nicolls have launched Copperfield Advisory, a consulting firm providing marketing, communications, public affairs and strategy to corporate, financial and social sector clients. Whitehouse previously served as chief communications officer of IBM, global director of marketing and communications for Willis Towers Watson and Willis Group Holdings. Nicolls co-founded Penrose, the UK public relations firm, and also served as vice chairman of Hudson Sandler. Copperfield has a committed investment from Clarim Holdings, a new investment firm established by Jim McCann, founder of

LONDON—Porta Communications, parent of public relations agencies Newgate Communications, Publicasity and Redleaf Communications, has reported revenue of £19.44m for the first six months of the financial year, up 9%. Gross profit increased by 20% to £16.48m and adjusted headline EBITDA increased by 24% to £1.16m.

BLUE BELL, PA—Kimball Communications, a boutique Philadelphia public relations agency specializing in insurance, real estate, law, trade associations and other niche industry communications, has rebranded as Kimball Hughes Public Relations. The rebrand follows the naming of agency vice president Rod Hughes as a partner in 2016.

SAN BRUNO, CA—Dynamic Signal, the mobile-first communications platform, has appointed Joelle Kaufman as chief marketing officer. Kaufman will oversee all marketing functions including strategy, brand, and demand generation and will help to create awareness around the company’s workforce communication solutions. Prior to joining Dynamic Signal, Kaufman served as the EVP of Strategy and Business Development for Westfield.