LONDON — FleishmanHillard has hired former Edelman leader Hugh Taggart as CEO of the agency’s UK operations.

The appointment comes after the departure of former UK and Middle East CEO Jim Donaldson, who announced last August he would be leaving FleishmanHillard at the end of 2023.

Taggart, who takes up the new role in February, has been at Edelman since 2017 most recently as its co-CEO in the UK. He stepped down from the agency in May this year, having also served as Edelman’s global chair of issues and crisis and previously led the EMEA corporate affairs practice.

He was previously at BellPottinger for nearly six years, latterly as managing director and partner in London. 

FleishmanHillard president and CEO John Saunders said: “We have an incredible business in the UK, with real breadth and substance, and a truly exceptional culture. London will always be a critical market for FleishmanHillard and we believe Hugh is the ideal leader to follow the terrific growth achieved under Jim Donaldson and help deliver on our future plans.”

Saunders said Taggart was “a dynamic leader with a hugely impressive track record of improving teams, developing talent and growing businesses” who would bring “ gravitas, energy and sharpness to our UK team and add real depth to our global leadership.”

Taggart added: “It’s a real thrill to be joining such an iconic agency and professionally-run organisation. I’ve always admired FleishmanHillard from afar and held them in high regard when coming up against them. However, what is most exciting is joining an agency with such ambitious plans.

"The UK is a particularly competitive market, but FleishmanHillard has a great platform from which it can grow and I’m looking forward to helping the agency unlock all of its potential.”

Donaldson, who was recently honoured by ICCO as this year’s inductee to its Hall of Fame, has not yet announced his next move.