H+K unites Americas region

Mike Coates takes helm as president and CEO as Canadian, U.S. and Latin American operations unite

Mike Coates has been named president and CEO of the newly formed Americas region for Hill+Knowlton Strategies (H+K). The organizational alignment sees H+K unite operations between Canada, the U.S. and Latin America.

The move is the final geographic step in a global organizational strategy undertaken by Jack Martin since he became global chairman and CEO in 2011. Asia-Pacific was brought together last November, while Europe, the Middle East and Africa were unified in May.

Mike Coates new

Mike Coates

“It’s not just geographic,” Coates told Marketing. “In the PR space, we’re facing competition from many different marketing service companies. What we’ve got to do is marshal our resources in a way that taps into all different channels of communication.”

Coates, who is currently based in New York, joined what is now H+K Canada in 1983 and was promoted to president and CEO in 1995. In December 2012, he moved into the chairman role while remaining CEO. Over the years, Coates has diversified H+K’s portfolio with acquisitions and new services in public engagement, research and analytics, technology and digital. “All of that needs to be integrated now into everything we do,” said Coates.

“By [unifying the Americas], we are trying to break down both the geographic silos, but also the service silos that exist even within the various geographic boundaries. So it’s all about offering a best-teams approach to our clients.”

Goldy Hyder, president of H+K Canada, was promoted to president and CEO. Both Hyder and Antonio Tamayo, president and CEO of Latin America, now report to Coates. For now, Coates will also serve as U.S. president and CEO.

Andy Weitz, H+K’s former U.S. president and CEO, recently left the company, which triggered H+K’s consolidation process for the Americas.

“While there was no set time frame for when this unification would be made, when Andy indicated he was choosing to leave, it signaled for me now was an ideal time,” said Martin in a statement. “With regional unification complete we have a global organization that is more integrated and better able to quickly deploy the best talent and resources around the world.”

The new Americas region comprises approximately 900 employees in 29 offices across eight countries: Canada, the United States (and Puerto Rico), Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico.

The three regions (Canada, U.S. and Latin America) will continue to have their own P&Ls. “The idea is to be respectful of local clients, but also take advantage of synergies where they exist,” said Coates.

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