New man Ken Luce moves rapidly into Paul Taaffe’s chair at Hill & Knowlton, but only as COO

So he’s not really occupying the chair, just perching on the edge.

But life can be like that at WPP and the rapidity of Weber Shandwick COO Ken Luce’s switch to WPP PR firm Hill & Knowlton suggests that the marcoms giant expected CEO Paul Taaffe to jump when the details of H&K’s merger with Public Strategies were ironed out, in particularly the elevation of Public Strategies founder Jack Martin to chairman and now CEO too.

WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell is betting pretty heavily on Martin. Public Strategies is far smaller than H&K and has nothing like its image in the business world, being a political specialist.

Taaffe, an Australian although he was based in the US, is clearly paying the penalty for a couple of years of perceived under-performance at H&K in the depths of the recession.

It will be interesting to see where he ships up. At Interpublic-owned Weber Shandwick perhaps?

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.