FleishmanHillard has made its biggest foray yet into the world of data, hiring Coca-Cola's Christina Liao to lead its global analytics practice. Liao, who relocates to St Louis from Atlanta, previous led Coca-Cola's knowledge and insights unit, determining ROI across the company's paid, earned, shared and owned model. Prior to that, she was VP of analytics and insights at market research firm CMI. At FH, she becomes SVP, senior partner and director of applied data, an increasingly important area for public relations firms that are aiming to prove and improve the value of their work. Liao will also manage FH's alliance with Annalect, Omnicom's dedicated data analytics firm. “Christina is a wonderful addition to our team at a time when our ability to gather, make sense of, and apply research and analytics for our clients’ competitive advantage is critical to our success,” said Dave Senay, president and CEO of FleishmanHillard. “Her long record of accomplishment in her field, her proven leadership ability and her entrepreneurial spirit all combine to make her a terrific choice for this key position.” The role is a newly-created one at FH, incorporating duties previously held by Wendy Flanagan, who previously led the global research team. Flanagan will now turn her focus to her existing position as deputy GM of FleishmanHillard's St. Louis office. The appointment aligns with FH's recent history of making non-traditional hires from the worlds of advertising and marketing. At the recent ICCO Summit in Paris, Senay — together with GolinHarris CEO Fred Cook — explored the changes required of PR firms, particularly regarding the types of talent they are aiming to hire. In a video interview at the same event, Senay explained FH's hiring strategy and the cultural challenges that must be overcome.