WPP merges PR giants BCW and Hill & Knowlton into revamped Burson

Another big WPP merger iis happening: PR giants BCW and Hill & Knowlton are merging under the Burson banner (BCW itself is a merger of Burson-Marsteller and Hollywoods’ Cohn & Wolfe.)

WPP says the merged agency will be an “industry-leading, full-service communications agency focused on building and protecting reputation.”

BCW CEO Corey duBrowa (above) 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. Burson will be operational from July 1 2024. The newly- formed Burson will have more than 6,000 employees in 43 markets worldwide.

CEO duBrowa says: “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.

“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.”

WPP CEO Mark Read says:: “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.”

The move echoes WPP merging all its creative agencies into VML, obliterating JWT, Y&R and Wunderman, brands which, back in the day, cost the company billions. Are WPP’s gaggle of media agencies, the biggest contributor to revenue, the next to be merged into one giant media agency alongside VML and Burson?

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