Hill+Knowlton Strategies Announces AnnaMaria DeSalva to Succeed Jack Martin as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

by | May 16, 2019

Hill+Knowlton Strategies, one of the world’s leading public relations and communications firms and a WPP company, announced the appointment of AnnaMaria DeSalva as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, effective June 24, 2019. She succeeds Jack Martin, who will step down from the company in July and who will serve in an advisory capacity through the end of the year.

As global Chairman and CEO, DeSalva will oversee Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ network of more than 80 offices in over 40 markets, working with the firm’s leaders, including co-presidents Richard Millar and Lars Erik Grønntun, to advance the company’s growth strategy, build its profile as a destination for industry talent, and to continuously improve client experience and outcome. She will report to WPP Chief Executive Officer, Mark Read.

DeSalva was most recently Chief Communications Officer of DuPont, where she developed the corporate affairs capability and successfully guided the company through a period of extensive transformation, including DuPont’s $130 billion merger with Dow. Prior to her tenure at DuPont, DeSalva led corporate affairs for the innovative core of Pfizer, where she played a principal role in the integration of Pfizer’s $68 billion acquisition of Wyeth and the turnaround of R&D. Earlier, she served as the global practice leader of healthcare at Hill & Knowlton and GCI Group, both WPP companies, delivering significant revenue growth for each firm. At Bristol-Myers Squibb, DeSalva led international public affairs in oncology, working principally in Europe, and later became director of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation.

In addition to her substantial executive experience, DeSalva currently serves as Vice Chairman of the board of directors of XPO Logistics, a technology-driven, Fortune 200 global provider of transportation and supply chain solutions, and as a member of the Board of Governors of Argonne National Laboratory, a leading science and engineering center of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said: “AnnaMaria is an exceptional communicator and leader whose experience spans the corporate management, governance and agency worlds. With her broad perspective, understanding of client needs and history with WPP, she is well qualified to take the reins of this great business, and I look forward to working with her as she leads Hill+Knowlton Strategies into the future.

“I would like to thank Jack for his many years of dedicated service and leadership, and also to recognize his special legacy as the founder of Public Strategies and pioneer of ‘The Fifth Seat’—the source for strategic communications advice in the client C-suite. He has made an important contribution not only to H+K and WPP but the industry as a whole, and he leaves with our very best wishes.”

“This February, I decided it was time for me to step down once a successor was named. I committed to WPP and my colleagues that I would do everything possible to ensure a smooth transition and I am delighted that AnnaMaria rejoins H+K. She knows us well as an H+K alumnus, and I could not be more pleased to have her become H+K’s Global Chairman and CEO. AnnaMaria brings deep agency expertise and client-side experience, advising CEOs, navigating crises and building corporate reputation. She delivers a competitive advantage in that she has lived in what we at H+K call ‘the Fifth Seat.” said Jack Martin.

“I look forward to the opportunity to lead Hill+Knowlton Strategies into its next era,” said AnnaMaria DeSalva. “Communication is an essential agent of value creation, and we are well positioned to make substantial contributions to our clients’ growth, as they deliver the step changes in technology and commerce that drive the world today.  I’m excited to work with the talented people of this very special firm to test the limits of what we can achieve.”

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