NEW YORK — Hill+Knowlton Strategies has announced a new global leadership structure, splitting geographic and other responsibilities between global presidents Richard Millar and Lars Erik Grønntun.

Millar (pictured, right) will take responsibility for the US, in addition to the global client and creativity and innovation agendas, while Grønntun (left) will lead the 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 will also continue to oversee the global operations agenda.

Millar and Grønntun were elevated to the global president positions in October last year and have until now shared responsibility for global operations. In their new roles, both will continue to report directly to AnnaMaria DeSalva, who was named as global chairman and CEO of the firm in May this year after Jack Martin stepped down.

H+K has not had a US lead since US president Alex Jutkowitz returned to his leadership role at SJR, the content marketing firm that he founded and sold to H+K in 2013, and which is now a separate agency within WPP. 

In addition, finance led by Andy Scharf, HR and talent led by Kate Augustine, business development and Marketing, led by Sam Lythgoe and global counsel Meredith Marks, will now report directly to DeSalva, as will global sector leads. Scharf, Augustine and Lythgoe previously reported to Grønntun, while the global sector leads reported to Millar.

DeSalva said: “We are taking key steps forward to establish the foundation for the next era of growth and achievement at Hill+Knowlton Strategies. Richard and Lars Erik are proven leaders who have built the UK market and EMEA region, respectively, and have advanced a global operating model for the firm as global co-presidents. With the establishment of this leadership structure we are doubling down on our growth imperatives for major markets and clusters while positioning key functions, sectors, and capabilities to drive our progress.”

She added: “Richard’s significant track record in the UK, the role he has played in advancing creativity and innovation globally, and his true commitment to our US business make him an ideal choice to lead our operation and personally drive its accelerated transformation. I am delighted that he has agreed to take on this vital leadership remit, and I look forward to partnering with him.”

“While the US is a key global market, much of H+K’s business takes place across its 80+ offices in over 40 markets and we must continue to cultivate the strength that results from the diversity of our portfolio. Lars Erik has a strong record of successfully leading complex portfolios of multiple markets with different levels of maturity and growth and each with their own cultural nuances. I am confident that he will lead our International portfolio very successfully, and I look forward to our continued work together,” DeSalva continued.

Millar led the transformation of H+K’s flagship operation in the UK from 2008 and since 2014 has driven H+K’s global creative agenda including the formation of the Global Centre of Creative Strategy and the Shanghai Addition in China. Millar is also the senior lead on clients including adidas global across all categories.

Millar said: “I have gotten to know colleagues and clients in the US over the past year and I have been impressed by the depth and diversity of our work. We have brought in new talent, grown existing clients, dramatically improved our new business conversion and built out new capabilities which include a planning function, behavioral science expertise and the establishment of The Studio in New York. We have all of the right foundations and my ambition is to ensure we are the destination of choice for clients and talent in our largest market.”

Grønntun has led and grown H+K’s largest region, EMEA, since 2014. He is 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).

“I look forward to continue driving the momentum of our International portfolio,” said Grønntun. “The diversity and strength of our international operations have always set us apart as one of the strongest global public relations agencies. Our understanding of local markets together with our international mindset and reach will be central to our growth and success in the future.”