Jack Martin is the global executive chairman and chief executive officer of Hill+Knowlton Strategies, a strategic communications firm with 90 offices in 52 countries. Hill+Knowlton clients represent 46 of Interbrand's 2010 Top 100 Global Brands, and half of global Fortune 500 companies have chosen to work with the firm.
Since joining Hill+Knowlton, Martin has emphasized enhancing the firm’s digital, research and energy practices. He has also restructured the firm’s senior management structure and focused on leveraging existing talent through internal promotions and appointments.
Martin epitomizes Hill+Knowlton’s commitment to providing trusted advice and expertise at the highest levels in corporate suites by maintaining a personally active role in client service, as he has throughout his career. He puts his extensive expertise and insights to work for Hill+Knowlton clients around the world as a strategic counselor at the board and executive levels, and he has personally managed the communications, government affairs, brand and investor relations strategies for leaders at some of the world’s largest corporations.
Martin is also a recognized thought leader in communications, politics and business. His theories regarding the relationship between the public and traditional institutions manifest themselves as the Martin Curve, which holds that the public — which today must be broadly defined — has access to more information than ever before and less need for intermediate institutions. As a result, the public's mood has become a leading indicator for the economy, meaning that businesses must take into account public sentiment when designing and executing successful business strategies.
Before assuming his current role, Martin served as founding chairman of Public Strategies, Inc., which was acquired by London-based WPP in 2006. At Public Strategies, Martin pioneered a new model in business advisory consulting, trademarked as the “Fifth Seat.” This philosophy, which has been recognized by several leading business publications, focuses on the importance of public trust to a company’s corporate success. It holds that companies should devote the same C-suite attention to their interactions with the public that they do to concerns regarding law, banking, management consulting and accounting.
Martin’s career was shaped by his association with U.S. Senator and Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, a longtime friend and mentor. Martin served as executive assistant to the senator and as campaign manager for two of his re-election bids. He then worked as a senior advisor to the Democratic National Committee and the U.S. Senate Democratic Committee, and in 1990 he served as the primary consultant for Ann Richards’ successful race for Texas governor. Martin chaired Richards’ gubernatorial transition committee, and, after she left public office, Richards served as head of the Public Strategies office in New York.
Martin is actively involved in public service and has worked with numerous civic organizations. In his career, he has received gubernatorial appointments from four Texas governors, both Democrat and Republican, to positions in public service. In 1984, he was appointed by the governor to a six-year term on the Board of Regents of the Texas State University System. He was elected chairman of the board in 1988 at age 34, making him the youngest ever to hold this post. In 1991, Southwest Texas State University, now known as Texas State University, honored Martin as a distinguished alumnus, noting him again as the youngest recipient of this award.
Martin is a former member of the board of the LBJ Foundation, which supports public policy education at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin and the LBJ Presidential Library and Archives. He also serves on the boards of trustees for the Baylor College of Medicine and Scott & White Healthcare and is currently a member of the board at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.