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Corporate Communications and PR

WPP merges BCW and Hill & Knowlton to form Burson - a full-service communications agency

Burson is set to launch on July 1, 2024, with its new brand reveal later this year.

WPP has announced to merge its two primary communications agencies, Hill & Knowlton and BCW, to form Burson. This newly established entity aims to be a dominant force in providing comprehensive and contemporary communication leadership on a global scale.

Burson will position itself as an industry-leading, full-service communications agency, dedicated to the construction and safeguarding of reputations.

Corey duBrowa, the current global CEO of BCW, will assume the role of global CEO for Burson. Similarly, AnnaMaria DeSalva, presently serving as global chairman and CEO of Hill & Knowlton, will take on the position of global chairman at Burson. Together, they will be responsible for overseeing agency strategy, client service, employee experience, and fostering a distinctive organizational culture. Burson will be operational from 1 July 2024, with the unveiling of its new brand anticipated later in the year.

The recently established Burson will employ over 6,000 individuals across 43 global markets. The company's name pays tribute to the late Harold Burson, a trailblazer and key figure in contemporary public relations and strategic communications.

duBrowa said, “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. Those principles are the foundational ideals of Burson, upon which we will set the bar for modern communications through our AI-first innovation pipeline.”

DeSalva commented, “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.”

Burson’s leadership team will comprise a cohort of top-tier former chief communications officers and other experienced agency senior executives from both companies who bring deep expertise and knowledge of what business leaders need to succeed. Appointments will be announced throughout 2024 as the integration progresses.

GCI Health and AxiCom will continue to work as brands within Burson, offering specialised healthcare and technology communications expertise.

Mark Read, CEO, WPP, said, “I am delighted to see the Burson brand brought back to unite H&K and BCW. The new agency will be the standard bearer as the most modern, strategic, technology-driven, full-service communications offer in the industry.”

Hero Image credits- WPP

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