WPP To Merge BCW And Hill & Knowlton

WPP To Merge BCW And Hill & Knowlton

Just months after merging creative agencies VMLY&R and Wunderman Thompson, WPP is consolidating more of its agencies with PR firms BCW and Hill & Knowlton being mashed together.

Lead image L-R: AnnaMaria DeSalva, currently global chairman and CEO of Hill & Knowlton, soon chairman of Burson; Corey duBrowa, currently global CEO of BCW, soon to be global CEO of Burson.

The new agency will be called Burson — referencing the ‘B” in BCW. Corey duBrowa, currently global CEO of BCW, has been named global CEO of Burson and AnnaMaria DeSalva, currently global chairman and CEO of Hill & Knowlton, has been named global chairman of Burson.

The new agency will open its doors on 1 July this year, unveiling its new brand “later this year”.

Burson will draw on both organisations’ “unrivalled talent base, exceptional global networks, investments in technology, creative capabilities, and public affairs and advisory specialties to drive reputation and value creation through the interdisciplinary solutions that clients demand now,” according to WPP.

The new agency will have “more than 6,000” employees across 43 markets worldwide. Currently, BCW employs around 4,680 while BCW is thought to have around 3,000 staff.

“Harold Burson believed strongly that actions are stronger than words, and he established honesty, transparency, integrity and excellence as the guiding principles of his business,” said Corey duBrowa. “Those principles are the foundational ideals of Burson, upon which we will set the bar for modern communications through our AI-first innovation pipeline. Together as Burson, we will bring insights, expert strategic counsel and technology solutions into a higher value offering for our clients to help them innovate and lead in today’s complex operating environment.”

“The combination of Hill & Knowlton and BCW is highly synergistic, creating a premier partner for business leaders who are focused on commercial growth, risk management, and reputational capital,” said AnnaMaria DeSalva. “Our body of work increasingly demonstrates that strategic communication, elevated by creativity, is a primary force for sustainable value creation. By accelerating our transformation through this combination, we will enable the investments in talent and technology that advance communications leadership when it has never mattered more.”

Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said: “Hill & Knowlton and BCW are two high-performing businesses with complementary strengths, shared ambitions and many shared clients. I am delighted to see the Burson brand brought back to unite them. The new agency will be the standard bearer as the most modern, strategic, technology-driven, full-service communications offer in the industry.”




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