NEW YORK--Omnicom Group has hired a senior Johnson & Johnson comms exec to the newly-created role of chief operating officer across its PR agency operations.

Steve Dnistrian joins Omnicom's DAS division, which includes its marketing communications agencies, after serving in a series of senior communications roles at J&J including, most recently, VP of supply chain communication.

At Omnicom, he becomes COO with a specific focus on the group's PR agencies, which include FleishmanHillard, Ketchum, Porter Novelli, Marina Maher Communications and Kreab Gavin Anderson.

It is understood that Dnistrian is not being tasked with 'running' Omnicom's PR firms, but will serve in an operational role aimed at improving collaboration across its PR agencies and identifying best practices and business efficiencies. 

Dnistrian's arrival is part of a broader reorganization of the group by Dale Adams, who was promoted to chairman and CEO of DAS earlier this year. It is thought that Adams is aiming to appoint similar leads for the various disciplinary functions within DAS - such as healthcare, advertising and digital - to better manage the 200 agencies and 65 CEOs that report into him.

Significantly, Dnistrian's hire will not change existing reporting lines for the CEOs of Omnicom's PR firms, who will continue to report to Adams. Dnistrian himself will report to John Doolittle, the DAS CFO who added the role of president earlier this year.

Omnicom's PR revenues grew by 3.3 percent in 2012 to $1.29bn, thanks in part to a strong end to the year. PR revenues were up 1.9 percent in the first quarter of 2013.

Before joining J&J in 2008, Dnistrian spent 14 years as EVP and director of public affairs at Partnership for a Drug -Free America, a non-profit founded by the American Association of Advertising Agencies. 

An Omnicom spokeperson confirmed Dnistrian's hire, which makes the group relatively unique among its peers. Howard Paster previously led all of WPP's PR holdings until his death in 2011; the role has remained vacant since then. 

Harris Diamond, meanwhile, oversaw Interpublic Group's CMG division, which included most of its PR firms, until becoming CEO of McCann Erickson last year. There has been no like-for-like replacement for Diamond, with CFO Frank Mergenthaler adding oversight of CMG.