Luce Named H&K COO

More leadership changes at Hill & Knowlton. Ken Luce has been named global COO of the firm, reporting to the firm’s new global chairman and CEO Jack Martin. In the role, he will focus on growth and best practices in client services, marketing, and HR.

Previously, Luce was president of global client management at Weber Shandwick where he created management programs and devised best practices for the firm’s multi-national clients.

We spoke with Luce today about the changes, the merger with Public Strategies, which went into effect January 1, and the impact on the firm.

Luce told us that while the focus is always on the senior level, that’s not what’s most important. “In reality, its the day-to-day client leads, they’re working together,” he said, adding that the companies have come together to bring work to the clients that is already “bearing fruit.”

“The truth of the matter is this is a firm with great regional and local heads and great practices and strong operations around the world,” Luce said.

PRWeek UK quotes a former H&K senior exec, who said the merger with Public Strategies has “turned out to be ‘a reverse takeover’ with PSI effectively seizing control of H&K.” Luce dismissed this, speaking positively of the integration of the two teams.

Moreover, he experienced the 2001 Weber Shandwick merger and said he did his “homework” before making the move to H&K, a move he said was prompted by a desire to do something different. “Change is natural,” he said.

At the same time, he emphasized that he’s “not downplaying” the impact of change. “Change causes angst. Any change, positive or negative,” he said. Nevertheless, “change happens.”