PR News from WPP, PR New Hires, Mercury, Edelman, H+K, and Bell Pottinger

WPP Subpoenaed by Department of Justice

Three of WPP’s subsidiaries have been pulled into the U.S. DOJ’s investigation into production practices. WPP is a communications holding company based in London, and they are cooperating with the DOJ’s investigation. Some of the PR companies under the WPP umbrella include Burson-Marsteller, Ogilvy PR, and Hill+Knowlton Strategies. This announcement follows one from Interpublic Group that they too have been contacted by the Department of Justice. Also included are two of Omnicom’s firms and three of Publicis’ agencies. The broader investigation has to do with antitrust laws. WPP issued a statement confirming the information, and said that “WPP and its subsidiaries are fully cooperating with the inquiries.”

New Hires with Hill+Knowlton Strategies, ReviveHealth, and Story Partners

Richard Keil was hired by H+K as their global corporate practice executive VP to work with media relations, public affairs, and crisis PR. His most current post before H+K was with ExxonMobil working on government affairs. He has also held positions in the past with Purple Strategies, the Associated Press, Public Strategies, and Bloomberg News. New hires in other PR agencies include ReviveHealth hiring Sarah Lodholz, creative director; and new appointments for Chris Bearg, strategic planning lead and SVP; Kristen Berry, VP; and Rich Sharp and Paul Ratzky as SVPs. Story Partners brought in Matt Herrick as SVP and to oversee their food, agriculture, and trade division.

Victoria Geoghegan Rises to Financial and Corporate MD at Bell Pottinger

The new financial and corporate MD at Bell Pottinger, Victoria Geoghegan, has been with them for over 10 years. She steps into the recently vacated position left by Gavin Davis who went to work for Sky in September. Officially she starts on January 1st and reports to John Sunnucks, division chairman. Sunnucks commented that her “close client relationships, professional handling of complex issues, and strong leadership skills” will serve her well in the new position.

Mercury Now in Montana

Montana’s state capitol will soon have a Mercury office. Mercury provides bipartisan help in government affairs in all 50 states, nationally, and globally. The new office brings in Shane Scanlon as VP to work with Denny Rehberg – co-chairman at Mercury and former U.S. Congressman for Montana, as well as Mark Baker who serves as counsel. They also announced an additional location for Bozeman to open later in 2017.

The PR and Politics of Brexit

With Brexit, many political strategists and consultants have left their public and political posts to join PR and communications consultancies. Edelman was able to nab Will Walden who previously was the communications director and advisor for Boris Johnson. In November, prime minister David Cameron’s former communications director joined Teneo as their senior MD. Portland PR, with deep connections to the previous PM, Tony Blair, has picked up several politicos from Whitehall including James Helm, formerly at the Department of International Development as communications chief, and Victoria Dean left the Foreign and Commonwealth office to head the newly formed Brexit division at Portland.

Edelman Adds to Their Seattle and Portland Office Leadership

Eddie Rehfeldt comes to his new post as regional executive creative director while Chris Carter becomes the strategy and planning SVP. Both will be involved in leading teams in the Portland and Seattle offices working on marketing campaigns and integrated communications. Rehfeldt brings 25 years of creative experience, having done just about anything and everything and identifying himself as a creative “rodeo clown.” Recently he worked with teams that won both Gold and Silver Awards at the 2015 Cannes Lions Advertising Festival.

Carter also brings more than two decades in marketing, digital, direct, CRM, branding, and B2B and consumer strategy to Edelman. For the last 10 years he’s been at Wunderman Seattle leading strategic work for national and international brands such as Microsoft and T-Mobile.

Luke Marchant Joins Hill+Knowlton Strategies

H+K brought Luke Marchant into their firm in the Dallas office as their VP of public affairs. He has many years of political campaign and public affairs expertise. Over the years he’s worked with U.S. Senator John Cornyn, U.S. Representative Peter Olson, and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio. His most recent gig before H+K was at Mammoth Marketing Group working on messages for corporations and political campaigns. He’s got at least 15 years “working in the trenches of political warfare and the halls of public policy,” according to his own description.

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