Reno To Join Hill & Knowlton

A brief stint as a financial journalist convinced Tom Reno that he wanted to be involved in the day-to-day swirl of business, not simply cover it.

For Reno, 41, that revelation led to a career in public relations. Starting April 15, his latest stop will be as general manager of the New York office of WPP Group’s Hill & Knowlton.

“I felt [H&K] represented the best long-term career opportunity for me, [given the company’s] depth and also the depth of WPP,” said Reno.

Reno will oversee H&K’s 100-person New York office and report to MaryLee Sachs, president and CEO of H&K USA. He replaces Marilyn Castaldi, who left in December to become chief communications officer at Columbia University Medical Center.

Reno comes to H&K after four years as president of the New York office of Grey Global Group’s GCI, where his clients included Novartis.

“He is a powerhouse,” said Michael Roth, executive director, communications at Novartis. “Tom is never afraid to make the tough decisions that can make or break a company.”

Reno described his leadership style as “tough but very fair, and I think old-fashioned. … It starts with leading by example,” he said. “The best leaders are people who exhibit traits they want folks around them to have.”

Before GCI, Reno worked as managing director of New York-based PR firm Makovsky & Co. for three years. He also held the same title earlier in his career with Citigate Communications in New York. Over the years, he has worked with clients such as Chase Manhattan Bank, Citibank, and Visa USA.

After getting a degree in economics from Syracuse University, Reno started as a journalist for Dow Jones/Telerate Newswire in the mid-1980s. But on-the-job interviews with numerous CEOs opened his eyes. “I was eager to start shaping business,” he said, “[not] reporting it.”