LONDON—Huntsworth has concluded its search for a new chief executive with the appointment of former Hill & Knowlton CEO Paul Taaffe. Taaffe will succeed the group’s founder, Lord Chadlington, in April of next year. Chadlington had announced his plans to step down in August.

Taaffe served most recently as director of communications at e-commerce company Groupon. Before that, he spent 20 years at Hill & Knowlton, leading European operations for the WPP-owned agency and then spending eight years as chairman and chief executive.

According to Huntsworth chairman Derek Mapp, Taaffe’s “extensive knowledge of public relations, e-commerce and digital communications will ensure he makes an immediate contribution to our business.”

Chadlington will stand down from the Huntsworth Board as soon as Taaffe takes up his new role but will continue in a client facing role as group senior adviser. In addition to a new business and marketing role, he will advise clients with which he has strong personal commitments particularly in the Middle East, Africa and the Asia Pacific.

In addition, chief operating officer Sally Withey, who has been seriously unwell and on leave, will step down at the end of the year. Brian Porritt, Huntsworth's interim finance director, will continue in that role while the board institutes a search for a new finance director.