Social media innovator Boyd Neil steps down; public engagement pioneer Joseph Peters steps up

TORONTO, ON — June 13, 2013 — After three years as national social media and digital communications practice leader, Boyd Neil hands over the reins to Joseph Peters at Hill+Knowlton Strategies Canada (H+K) – the country’s No. 1-ranked public and government relations company. Effective immediately, Joe is promoted to senior vice-president and national practice leader for social, digital and public engagement at H+K.

A longtime “H+Ker,” Boyd helped create the firm’s digital and social media practice and is credited with building a team that has grown a substantial and impressive client roster. He will continue to be an active part of the practice as a senior vice-president and senior digital strategist, offering clients forward-thinking social and digital strategies to address their toughest business challenges.

“Boyd is known – both internally and externally – as a digital thought-leader, and his contributions have made H+K a serious contender in the digital space,” says Mike Coates, chairman and CEO. “Under his leadership, the practice evolved to meet increasing client demands for end-to-end digital solutions. Thanks to Boyd’s vision and direction, we are at the forefront of digital communications.”

In 2003, Joe cofounded Ascentum, which grew into one of Canada’s leading public engagement firms. Hill+Knowlton acquired Ascentum in August 2012. Accustomed to leading a multi-disciplined professional team, Joe’s transition to H+K was seamless.

“Ascentum grew because it was able to combine new ideas, integrated communications strategies and digital technology to show the value of informed participation and deliberation,” says Mike. “Joe has quickly become a go-to resource for social and digital insights and strategy; he is a natural choice to take on the leadership of our social and digital communications practice.”

Joe has helped integrate the public engagement, social and digital tools and philosophy into many new client assignments since joining H+K. He will continue to build on Boyd’s successful track record, integrating with the company’s various practice areas. From oil and gas to financial services to gaming and entertainment, the firm’s proprietary social and digital tools available to clients enhance stakeholders and community engagement and connection.

Joe brings a strong research and analytical background from public engagement. His experience with measurement and large-scale community engagement now ensures that the power of “big data” is fully integrated into the company’s social and digital practice.

In addition to his responsibilities at H+K, Boyd will be a professor in the new social media certificate program at Seneca College in Toronto, which he adds to his current social media teaching role at Ryerson University. Before taking on the role of digital and social practice leader at H+K, Boyd was the company’s national corporate communications practice leader for eight years.

About Hill+Knowlton Strategies Canada

With nine offices across the country, Hill+Knowlton Strategies is a leader in both PR and government relations. The company is the No. 1-rated strategic communications firm in Canada. It specializes in corporate communications, public affairs, marketing communications, crisis, energy, technology, health care, digital communications, financial communications and transactions. The only communications firm to have earned the Order of Excellence from Excellence Canada, it is also recognized as one of the 2013 Best Work`places in Canada. Its parent company, Hill+Knowlton Strategies Inc., has 86 offices in 47 countries as well as an extensive associate network and is a member of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY), one of the world’s largest communications services groups.