Diana Marszalek 07 Feb 2024 // 3:06PM GMT
NEW YORK — BCW and Hill & Knowlton have named their first round of Burson regional leaders, while PRovoke Media can reveal that H&K global president Richard Millar is departing the firm.
BCW’s Kristine Boyden and Scott Wilson are appointed Americas and EMEA CEOs, respectively, after holding the same roles at BCW. The WPP agency will merge with sibling H&K to create Burson on July 1, creating a $1bn PR firm.
Boyden and Wilson assumed their current roles in October, when BCW made a number of global leadership changes — the first significant moves to the senior team since former Google communications head Corey duBrowa took over as the agency’s global CEO from Donna Imperato in August.
At that time, Boyden assumed the new role of CEO, Americas, covering the US, Canada, Mexico and Latin America, after more than a dozen years at Edelman and leading in-house comms for Cruise. Wilson had been BCW’s Europe and Africa president for the past five years.
Meanwhile, Millar — who has been H&K's global president since 2018 — is leaving the agency after 20 years, during which he served as CEO of Europe and the UK among other roles.
“Richard has made a wide range of very significant contributions across a dynamic 20+ year career at Hill & Knowlton. Our people, our clients and many others in the industry have benefited from his counsel and humanity. The business and relationships he has grown are a testament to his vision and character. We are grateful for all he has done for us, and we wish him all the best," said H&K global chairman and CEO AnnaMaria DeSalva.
Craig Buchholz, who joined H&K as US CEO from GM in July, will continue to lead the region as Burson’s US CEO. Simon Whitehead, H&K’s longtime UK CEO, also will retain his role under Burson; BCW UK chief executive Rebecca Grant is making a yet-to-be-announced move to an EMEA leadership role elsewhere in the industry.
Other appointments include a mix of current BCW and H&K leaders.
Bashar AlKadhi, currently H&K’s CEO of EMEAx, will become CEO, Middle East, Turkey & Africa, Burson. HS Chung, currently H&K president, Asia-Pacific, becomes CEO, North Asia-Pacific — covering greater China, Japan and Korea.
Matt Stafford, currently BCW Asia-Pacific president, is named Burson’s CEO of South Asia-Pacific — covering India, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia; and Brian Burlingame, currently CEO, Latin America, H&K, will become CEO, Latin America, Burson.
“This is an outstanding group of colleagues, each of whom has decades of experience —whether in-house or at agencies — building and protecting client reputations, creating environments where people can perform their best and thrive, and driving business growth,” said BCW global CEO Corey duBrowa, who will lead Burson as global CEO with DeSalva, who has been named Burson’s global chairman.
“These leaders have performed exceptionally in their current roles and will bring that same commitment and rigor to their new positions at Burson," he said.
WPP’s decision to merge the holding group's two biggest PR firms, announced Jan. 25, comes five years after BCW was created by the takeover of Burson-Marsteller by Cohn & Wolfe. According to spokespersons from the two firms, Hill & Knowlton will continue to operate as a distinct brand within Burson, "serving a select group of clients globally through strategic communications, advisory and public affairs services, including clients where there may be conflicts."