Hill+Knowlton Strategies today announced that Americas President and CEO Michael Coates will be stepping into a Global Vice Chairman role, focusing on strategic clients and new business growth in Canada until retiring from the firm next year. Effective immediately, Goldy Hyder, Claudia Gioia and Beth Balsam, CEOs of Canada, Latin America and the U.S. respectively, will report directly to Jack Martin, Global Chairman and CEO.
“When I first approached Mike to take up the Americas position, the communications world was in a period of unprecedented disruption,” Martin said. “Mike has steered H+K Americas through that change and put the region on a growth path. He brought on three highly competent regional leaders who can continue that success. I want to thank him for his 33 years of service to this firm.”
Coates has been the Americas CEO for over two years, directing a process of diversification and investment in the digital, content and data space. He pushed forward the expansion of Group SJR in the U.S. and Canada, and spearheaded the acquisition of Ideal Hill+Knowlton in Brazil. He drove the rollout of a collection of “people” policies in the U.S. dubbed H+K Inside and H+K Outside, which included an industry-leading maternity and paternity leave policy. These initiatives led to Hill+Knowlton U.S. earning the Work-Life Seal of Distinction from WorldatWork, Holmes Report SABRE Awards for Most Innovative Agency Initiative and PR Agency Employee Program, recognition by PR News among the Top Places to Work in PR, and certification as a Great Place to Work® from the Great Place to Work Institute.
“Mike has been a great mentor to me,” said Beth Balsam, U.S. CEO and President. “The U.S. region will move forward with his business plan of diversification and, most importantly, putting our people at the forefront of the business. One of the essential things I learned from Mike is that the success of a company comes down to its people.”
Prior to becoming the Americas CEO and president, Coates served as CEO of Canada from 1995 to 2014, directing an extended period of growth and making H+K Canada the global network’s most profitable region. His consulting career began in 1983 as a consultant with Public Affairs International (PAI), a management-owned public policy company.
“The job Jack asked me to do is largely done. We have three superior leaders for the U.S., Canada and Latin America in Beth Balsam, Goldy Hyder and Claudia Gioia,” said Coates. “So after much consideration, it is time for me to hang up my skates here at H+K. Sometimes you just know when it is time to step aside. I want to thank Jack for giving me the opportunity to take on such a dynamic role, and I am confident that with the talent that H+K has around the globe, this company will continue to be successful for many years to come.”
The Americas President and CEO will serve as Global Vice Chairman until retirement in 2017.