Leadership


Global leadership

Richard Millar

Global President
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Richard is Global President of Hill+Knowlton Strategies, with responsibility for driving innovation and business transformation across geographies, sectors and services.

Prior to his current role, Richard was CEO of H+K’s flagship London operation from 2008 to 2018. During that time, he reorganized the agency around a client-centric ‘depth and breadth’ agenda, diversifying the agency’s capabilities and launching new products and services.  This transformation agenda resulted in seven consecutive years of record growth, an embedded creative culture, and the agency recognized as UK Agency of the Year. Under his direction, this program is now being adapted and implemented globally.

Richard leads a number of the firm’s global client relationships. Among these is adidas, with whom he has a relationship stretching back to the agency’s appointment in 1993.  He cites his client’s restless desire for ideas and innovation, for cultural relevance, as context for his ambitions for H+K.

In a seven-year period between his two terms at the agency, Richard held a number of marketing and trading positions with a European retailer serving latterly as Marketing Director, Europe.

Richard is graduate of the University of Manchester, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Trustee of Generation Success – an organization that champions social mobility and diversity across the professional services industries.


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Lars Erik Grønntun

Global President
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Lars Erik is Global President of Hill+Knowlton Strategies. He has over 20 years of experience as an advisor to CEO’s and executives of corporations and public entities from around the world.

As a strategic communications expert, Lars Erik operates within the areas of public and governmental affairs, corporate and financial communications, crisis and issues management. Taking a “client first” approach, he is also a Global Top 20 Client Service Director and works with a range of clients in several countries.

Prior to his current role, Lars Erik was Chairman and CEO of H+K’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Through strong performance, client obsession, innovation of H+K’s service offerings in the region, and cross-country collaboration, H+K EMEA was under his leadership awarded EMEA Agency of the Year at the SABRE Awards in both 2016 and 2018, as well as the ICCO Agency of the Year in 2018.

Lars Erik started his career as founder of the Norwegian public relations agency Gambit in 1995. The company was acquired by H+K in 2002, and Lars Erik has since taken on several responsibilities at the company – including Strategy Director and CEO for Benelux, Nordics, Russia & CIS. Today, he is a member of H+K’s global ethics committee.

In his work, Lars Erik takes a special interest in the power of the public; in an age shaped by shaped by political polarization, digitalization, and societal issues on the agenda, the public increasingly holds the power to decide the faith of both governments and corporations.


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Sam Lythgoe

Global Chief Business Development Officer
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Splitting her time between the US and the UK, Sam is responsible for our new business strategy and conversion and the integration of new client partnerships.

Her role is to ensure the right focus and resource is deployed for every new client assignment. She also leads certain client assignments.

Sam’s responsibilities also include the strategic planning and implementation of H+K’s marketing, external communications and internal communications globally.

Prior to taking on the responsibilities for Business Development in 2006, Sam set up the Consumer Tech team, which she grew to $2m and included a mix of global and local clients. Specifically, she was H+K’s global lead for TomTom, Verisign, Jamster, Shopping.com and AOL and the UK lead for Intel, Play.com and DatingDirect.com, among others. She also ran the global integrated BT Global Challenge account back in 1999-2001. Sam is a graduate in international business and modern languages (BSc 2:1) from Aston University and MSc equivalent for the Ecole de Management (l’IECS) de Strasbourg. She speaks good French and rusty German.


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Alison Eyles-Owen

Global Chief Client Officer
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Alison is a consumer communications professional advising clients on influencer marketing and advocacy strategies; integrated brand building programs; digital and social media activation; cause related marketing and experiential campaigns, to help clients actively manage their brand and corporate reputations with multiple audiences. She is also H+K’s chief client officer for P&G worldwide, responsible for their diverse brand portfolio, developing broad ranging communications practices; creating P&G’s biggest ever global PR program ‘Thank You Mom’, leveraging their Olympics sponsorship across 78 markets; pioneering P&G’s sustainability brand communications including the multi-award winning Ariel Turn To 30 initiative and P&G’s Future Friendly consumer education program recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative; and the groundbreaking Pampers UNICEF campaign, one pack=one vaccine campaign to help eliminate neonatal tetanus in developing markets.   

Alison also leads WPP’s S-Team, a group of experts from around the world experienced in developing brand strategy and award-winning campaigns that leverage sustainability issues. The team’s vision is to collaborate with and inspire clients in their sustainability journeys which help to accelerate meaningful change by connecting brands, stakeholders and consumers to the benefit of all.   

 Prior to her global role, Alison was Head of H+K’s Marketing Communications practice in London, responsible for a range of blue-chip clients including Volvo Cars; Allied Bakeries; B&Q; npower; Automobile Association; Black & Decker; General Motors; St Ivel; Unilever Best Foods; Fujitsu ICL and Pepsi. Alison joined H+K in 1994 and has over 20 years brand marketing and communications experience.  She is a member of Women on Boards & Women in PR.  


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Kate Augustine

Global Chief Talent and Human Resources Officer
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Kate leads the agency’s global strategy to attract, onboard, develop and retain talent. She also leads the efforts to identify and partner with senior candidates on opportunities around the world. In this role, Kate partners closely with regional, market and client leaders on topics including performance management, employee retention, engagement, training and related initiatives worldwide.   

Prior to joining H+K, Kate spent more than four years with McKinsey & Company, where she developed hiring strategies, led senior executive and partner hiring, created assessment processes and partnered with Human Resources on the onboarding and retention of experienced professionals. Most recently at McKinsey, Kate led the talent strategies for the new Analytics Practice in the Americas, leading a team of six recruiters while leading partner hiring and organizing a go-to-market strategy.  

Prior to joining McKinsey, Kate focused on executive level search at Korn Ferry and Spencer Stuart. In these roles she worked with consumer, creative, technology and industrial clients on CXO, strategy, finance, marketing and operational needs.  

Kate holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in Organizational Development from Bowling Green State University.  


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Simon Shaw

Global Chief Creative Strategy + Innovation Officer
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Simon is Global Chief Creative Strategy + Innovation Officer of Hill+Knowlton Strategies, leading the creative + innovation agenda globally, both with clients and across the agency’s sectors and specialisms.

Simon joined H+K as Chief Creative Officer in 2014 to lead the transformation of the London agency working alongside the CEO. Through a program of cultural and business change, a new agency positioning was introduced along with the development of new processes, specialisms and skills. In 2017, after three years of top and bottom line growth, London was awarded the Holmes Report UK Agency of the Year and in 2018, Pan-EMEA won Consultancy of the Year. 
 
A part of the transformation Simon has also led the creation of the ‘H+K Shanghai Addition’, a bridge for Chinese clients to the rest of the H+K network. Simon currently spend around 1 week in 6 in China working with Chinese clients including Huawei, Wanda, Envision, Sunning and Honor. 
 
Prior to joining H+K, Simon has held multiple creative leadership positions. He is a well-renowned and respected industry authority, speaking and serving as judge at the Cannes Lions and as President on D&AD jury. In 2019 Simon was ranked one of the top 10 creative leaders by PR Week. 
 
Simon is an awarded architect with architectural degrees from the University of Edinburgh and University College of London. 


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Andy Scharf

Global Chief Financial Officer
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Andy is Global CFO and a member of H+K’s global council. He is responsible for the leadership and oversight of worldwide finance and operation functions, as well as H+K’s acquisition strategy– working with the senior leadership team in identifying acquisition candidates with emphasis on the faster growing practices and geographic markets.

 

Andy has been in finance for 30 years and for the past 18 years with WPP companies: Y&R, the Brand Union and Burson-Marsteller. He has worked as a CFO, Director of Planning and Analysis and Worldwide Controller.

 

Prior to joining WPP, he worked for Coopers & Lybrand (PWC), Philip Morris (Altria) and Bristol-Myers Squibb – all in NYC – in increasing levels of responsibility.

 

Andy has a BS in Mathematics & Computer Science, an MBA with a concentration in accounting and he is also a CPA.


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Sara Gourlay

Global Head of Technology
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Sara brings over 20 years of experience working on international and domestic communications campaigns for companies in the technology and telecoms space and for those companies using technology to drive innovative business models and solutions and to connect consumers with the latest innovations.  

Her work has covered B2B, enterprise and consumer/lifestyle audiences and all aspects of communications discipline from internal communications to PA and advocacy outreach. She leads global campaigns for Tata Communications, Huawei, Mercer Consulting, Microsoft and Wipro Technologies and also advises on multi-national strategy and planning for Intel, LG Electronics and others. In addition, Sara is one of H+K’s crisis leads, having handled crises of all kinds for telcos, financial institutions, health organizations and travel industry leaders.  

Prior to taking the global role, Sara led the APAC technology practice working with clients including Microsoft, Nexus Guard, Wipro Technologies and others.   

Now based in the UK, Sara has lived in six countries over the past 12 years and worked with teams and clients in over 40 markets worldwide. 


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David Bowen

Global Head of Health + Wellness
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David brings broad experience in healthcare policy, public-private partnerships, scientific research, communications strategy and business development on behalf of clients in the US and globally.  

Before joining H+K, David served as CEO of the nonprofit association Malaria No More and as Deputy Director of Global Health Policy and Advocacy for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In these roles, David negotiated million-dollar partnerships with both governments and corporate brands worldwide. David previously worked as visiting faculty at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Healthcare Policy and staff director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions throughout the Bush and Obama administrations. During his time in Washington, David was responsible for legislation and policy on issues including children’s health, stem cells, drug safety and health information technology, and he played a role in negotiating the U.S. national health reform law. He worked with members of Congress, the White House and outside constituencies to enact reforms and find common ground between Republicans and Democrats on a wide range of healthcare issues.    

David’s scientific expertise includes work at biopharmaceutical companies and scientific research on the nervous system and stem cells. He earned a Bachelor of Science in neural science and a Bachelor of Arts in political science at Brown University and a doctorate in neurobiology at the University of California. David currently serves on the Booz Allen Hamilton Health Care Leadership Council, the advisory committee of the American University School of Public Affairs, and the boards of Malaria No More-Japan and Medicines for Malaria Ventures, North America. 


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George Tagg

Global Head of Government + Public Sector
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George C. Tagg, Jr. spearheads H+K’s work with cities, states and countries worldwide to provide strategic advice and messaging to the right audience regarding crisis management, trade promotion, e-governance and public advocacy campaigns. 

George is a licensed attorney with over 15 years of experience in the U.S. Congress, Department of State, Department of Defense, and political campaigns. George has substantial expertise in global economics, energy, politics, and security. He has received awards for developing strategic initiatives and solving complex problems for U.S. government agencies, private companies, and foreign governments. George has demonstrated achievements in strategic advice, coalition building, teamwork, leadership, and implementation.  

Prior to H+K, George served as a NATO Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of State and Senior Advisor for Russia at the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy, focusing on Russia’s involvement in the Middle East. George received an award for managing strategic communications with Russia to de-conflict air and ground operations in Syria. George was a member of the U.S. negotiating team that secured a ceasefire between the Asad regime and Syrian opposition in Southwest Syria. 

Prior to his Pentagon work, George was Special Assistant for Europe and Global Security for Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken. George served as Political-Economic Officer at U.S. Embassy Kyiv, Regional Affairs Officer for the Caucasus at the Department of State, and Foreign Policy and National Security Advisor to Congressman John Tanner. George previously worked on gubernatorial, Congressional, and Presidential campaigns. 

George earned a Juris Doctor and Master of Arts in International Affairs from the American University in Washington, DC. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science-Honors. 


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AnnaMaria DeSalva

Global Chairman and CEO
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AnnaMaria DeSalva is the global Chairman and CEO of Hill+Knowlton Strategies. She is a business leader and corporate affairs expert known for creating step changes in growth and reputation at leading innovative companies and global communications services firms.

Before joining H+K in June 2019, AnnaMaria served as Chief Communications Officer of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. (DuPont) from 2014-2018, and subsequently as a senior advisor to Ed Breen, the CEO of DowDuPont, as he advanced the separation and launch of new independent public companies.   During her tenure, AnnaMaria restructured the communications function, establishing new standards and protocols to reduce reputation risk and improve performance, while ensuring the company successfully navigated a series of special situations demanding highly sensitive and effective public strategies, including a proxy battle with an activist shareholder; a CEO transition; and the $130 billion merger of equals with Dow leading to the subsequent break-up and creation of three new industry-leading companies.

Prior to her tenure at DuPont, AnnaMaria led corporate affairs for the innovative core of Pfizer, where she played a principal role in the integration of Pfizer’s $68 billion acquisition of Wyeth and the turnaround of R&D.  Earlier, she served as the global practice leader of healthcare at Hill & Knowlton and GCI Group, both WPP companies, delivering significant revenue growth for each firm. At Bristol-Myers Squibb, DeSalva led international public affairs in oncology, working principally in Europe, and later became director of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation.

AnnaMaria currently serves as Vice Chairman of the board of directors of XPO Logistics (NYSE: XPO), a technology-driven, Fortune 200 global provider of transportation and supply chain solutions, and as a member of the Board of Governors of Argonne National Laboratory, a leading science and engineering center of the U.S. Department of Energy.


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Meredith Marks

Global General Counsel
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Meredith works to ensure that H+K is in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and contract obligations. She oversees legal, talent and human resources globally and advises employees throughout the firm’s global network on a myriad of legal and operational issues. Additionally, Meredith supports and advises the global chairman and global leadership team. 

Prior to joining the firm, Meredith served for 10 years as the Chief Operating Officer of Public Strategies. Previously, she was an associate with the law firm of Brown, McCarroll, L.L.P., where she practiced product liability defense litigation. She is a cum laude graduate of Tulane University Law School. 


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Simon Whitehead

Global Head of Energy + Industrials | CEO, United Kingdom
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Simon is a specialist in corporate communications, international public affairs, financial PR and litigation communications. In addition to his role as CEO of H+K London, Simon oversees H+K’s global energy and industrials business, working across oil and gas, traditional and new energy, mining, transport, infrastructure and logistics. In 2018, his team was awarded Energy Consultancy of the Year at the Petroleum Economist Awards. Key clients have included Shell, Dong Energy, IOGP, Statoil, E.ON, GE Oil&Gas/Baker Hughes, Anglo American, DHL, ICMM, Ford, DP World and Hitachi.  

Previously, Simon was a partner at College Hill, leading the energy and natural resources team and co-leading the emerging markets business across Russia/CIS, Africa and India. At College Hill, Simon managed the financial PR for many oil, gas and natural resources companies; he won a SABRE award for his work with the Royal Bafokeng Nation and a PRCA award for best financial communicator for his work with Landkom. Before that, he was European director of emerging markets for APCO Worldwide, working with clients such as Yukos Oil, the Alfa Group and President Yushchenko of Ukraine.   

Simon has an MA (Hons) from Cambridge University, an MBA from Cranfield School of Management and a Diploma from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Simon has lived and worked in the U.S. Japan, Germany and Russia.  


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Vikki Willimott

Global Head of Content + Publishing
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Vikki leads a global team of Content + Publishing experts around the world, focusing on who we create content with, what format that takes and where it lives. This means leading strategically-important client projects, taking learnings from across our international client base and sharing best practice, empowering teams to bring this to life locally.

Now based in New York, she was previously at H+K London for four years as part of its Global Center of Creative Strategy. Here she defined our approach to the C+P discipline, started its Data + Analytics team and delivered work for Campari, Huawei, Intel & more.

She has spent more than 13 years building and leading digital content teams, from strategy to production, social media management, influencer outreach, brand partnerships and UGC. Before H+K she held dual roles at Creston Unlimited group; Head of Agency for Things Unlimited and Head of Social for TMW Unlimited. In this time she worked with over 35 major brands within Unilever, Activision, McCain Foods, Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser, Virgin Trains, Infiniti, Canon & more.

Vikki is a former journalist. She’s written for Contagious, The Guardian, Marketing, Marketing Week, new media age, Econsultancy and was a G20Voice blogger for Oxfam at the G20 Summits in London & Pittsburgh. She also worked in-house as Content Editor for the Jaguar Future project – created by Jaguar to tell the stories behind the C-X16 concept car.

She was placed on PRWeek’s Power Book for 2018 & 2017, The Drum’s Social Buzz Top 50 and Homes Report’s Innovator lists, speaks regularly at industry events, and curates great examples of brand content at ContentWins.co.uk


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