Diana Marszalek 27 May 2020 // 1:24PM GMT
OSLO — Lars Erik Grønntun is stepping down from his role as Hill+Knowlton Strategies global president to join educational platform Kahoot as chief operating and chief marketing officer.
In the new, combined role, Grønntun will manage the company's operational agenda as well as develop Kahoot's global communications strategy, starting June 1.
“Lars Erik Grønntun has decided to leave Hill+Knowlton Strategies to accept a leadership role at the global education and software company Kahoot!," global chairman and CEO AnnaMaria DeSalva confirmed in a statement.
Grønntun becomes COO and CMO at Kahoot, a game-based learning platform developed in his native Norway, after nearly a decade in H+K senior leadership roles, and almost two decades with the firm in total.
"Lars Erik joined us in 2002 when Gambit, the Norwegian consultancy he founded, was acquired by H+K and he went on to successfully lead our multi-award winning EMEA region. More recently, he has served as global president for our international portfolio. During his tenure at H+K, Lars Erik and his teams helped lead H+K to many recognitions including EMEA Consultancy of the Decade and multiple wins for EMEA Agency Network of the Year.
"Recognition in 2018 with the Individual Achievement SABRE Award is testament to Lars Erik’s record of achievement. He has been a highly regarded leader, client counsellor and colleague, and we are immensely grateful for all he has done."
Grønntun served as one of two global presidents since October 2018, when he and Richard Millar were elevated to the positions after successful runs leading the firm’s EMEA operations under former CEO and chairman Jack Martin.
Last September, DeSalva, who was named CEO of the firm last May after Martin stepped down, implemented a new leadership structure under which geographic and other responsibilities were split between Grønntun and Millar.
Since then, Grønntun has led H+K’s international portfolio, taking responsibility for the major markets of UK, Germany, Canada and Greater China, as well as the Asia, LatAm, METIA, Continental Europe and Nordics clusters. He also continued to oversee the global operations agenda. Millar took responsibility for the US, in addition to the global client and creativity and innovation offerings.
Previously, Grønntun spent four years leading and growing H+K’s largest region, EMEA, starting in 2014. He was also a senior strategy consultant within corporate communications and public affairs and senior lead for some of H+K’s top clients, including Equinor (formerly known as Statoil).
“It has been a joy and a privilege for me to serve H+K. During my tenure I have had the pleasure of holding leadership roles at all levels of the firm, pitched on every continent, served clients from all industries, thrived in every business cycle and hired more people than I can count – and enjoyed myself throughout," Grønntun said.
"As a leader at H+K you are entrusted with the responsibility of stewarding a 90 year legacy and the time has come to give space to other talented people in the organization to assume that duty. Leaving behind a company and colleagues that I have worked with for the better part of my adult life is a difficult decision, but for me the time was right to start a new chapter in my career. I will sorely miss the countless friends I have made over the years from all corners of the globe.”
News of Grønntun's departure comes one day after H+K announced the creation of two global leadership roles for its corporate and public affairs practices, hiring Kelli Parsons and Philippe Maze-Sencier, respectively.
Eilert Hanoa, CEO of Kahoot, said: "We are delighted that Lars Erik has accepted the position as COO and CMO of Kahoot!. He will bring a unique combination of extensive operational leadership experience from international organizations as well as expertise in global marketing and strategy. Lars Erik will have a leading role in supporting the company in its next growth phase and in preparing for a primary listing in the coming 12 months."