ST LOUIS--Fleishman-Hillard has snapped up experienced advertising planner Richard Dale to develop a new account planning process at the firm’s North American operations.

Dale was most recently chief planning officer for Leo Burnett China, after serving as Asia-Pacific planning head at the same agency. He becomes one of the most high-profile advertising hires by a PR agency, reflecting the increasing integration of the communications and marketing worlds.

Dale will take on the role of SVP, senior partner and director of strategic account planning at Fleishman-Hillard, reporting to Eastern region president Steve Hardwick, another ex-adman. Based in the firm’s New York office, Dale will also report to F-H Americas president Jack Modzelewski.

Dale spent six years with Leo Burnett in Asia, working on such clients as Bacardi, BMW, Coca-Cola, Fiat, McDonald’s, Siemens and Pfizer.

“In this rapidly evolving era of social business, insight-based campaigns and content marketing, Fleishman-Hillard has a rich opportunity to be the most complete communications agency our clients could ever need,” said Dave Senay, Fleishman-Hillard president and CEO. “Strategic account planning will be a real competitive advantage in driving the growth of our clients’ market opportunities, as well as the growth of our firm.”

Prior to Leo Burnett, Dale spent several years at Bates as a senior vice president and global account director. He started his career as a media director at Wieden and Kennedy and also worked in media planning at Deutsch.