A little over 30 years ago, I began an incredible journey down a long and winding road in this amazing profession. I’ve visited places that I had read about as a kid but never thought I’d actually see, met people I never dreamed I’d be fortunate enough to meet, and generally been blessed in ways I could not have imagined.
Over the course of those three decades, I founded and grew a business, Public Strategies, into one of the most respected advisory firms in America. That defining experience would pave the way for another defining moment: my entry into the global environment of Hill+Knowlton Strategies. That experience, now in its ninth year, would open up my world in ways that, in hindsight, were truly some of the most instructive, joyous, and significant of my life.
I am proud of all that we have accomplished at H+K over the last nine years. We have transformed our global presence in a number of key areas, including creative, content, corporate advisory, and data insights + analytics. Moreover, during my tenure, we made major investments in talent and instituted a deep commitment to professional training. We have coalesced and unified our go-to- market strategy, and our transformation is delivering results. We have realized three straight years of revenue growth, with last year being our strongest year yet, in addition to a substantial improvement in our operating profit. In the past 12 months, H+K has been recognized by WPP as having “performed particularly well” financially, and we have received more than 50 awards globally and countless recognitions from the SABRE Awards, PRWeek, Cannes Lions, MEPRA, ICCO, AMEC, IPRA, Stevie Awards, The Drum, PRCA, and others.
Highlights that I am particularly proud of include the formulation of the Global Centre of Creative Strategy out of London, the acquisition of IDEAL in Brazil, the Data+Analytics unit aligned and expanded globally, and, most important to me personally, the appointment of our first global chief talent officer with a directive to foster and promote talent within H+K. Promoting from within is something I have long been committed to, and my hope is that this practice will continue long into H+K’s future. I know it will serve the firm well.
After much deliberation, I have decided that it is time for me to look ahead and see what might be around the next bend in that road. And so, in February, I let my WPP colleagues know of my desire to step down as global chairman and CEO of Hill+Knowlton Strategies as soon as WPP designated a successor. That decision was announced earlier today, and accordingly I will be stepping down on June 30. I am pleased to report that WPP has selected AnnaMaria DeSalva, an H+K alum, to succeed me as global chairman and CEO. AnnaMaria is a business leader and corporate affairs expert with a distinguished track record as a driver of value creation, especially for leading innovative companies. I will continue to serve in an advisory capacity to the firm through the end of 2019.
Building Public Strategies from scratch was one of the joys of my life because it allowed me to fully explore my entrepreneurial side. Going forward, at least in the near term, I plan to take some time off as well as focus on our family ranching business. My interest in politics and public policy is now stronger than ever, perhaps given the times in which we live. But true to my entrepreneurial roots, there will no doubt be more to my journey. While it is difficult to predict exactly what that will look like, this much I know: it’s going to be interesting.
In closing, I would like to say that it has been one of the great honors of my life to serve the exceptional clients who have entrusted us with so much. And what a privilege it has been to have met and worked with, by my rough count, more than 4,000 colleagues — from senior-level executives to newly hired fellows — in nearly every office that flew the PSI or H+K flag around the world. That’s a lot of memories. How grateful I am. For all of that — and to all of you — I will simply say: Thank you.
For over 30 years, Jack Martin has been active in business and entrepreneurial activities. On May 15, 2019, he announced that he was stepping down as global chairman and CEO of Hill+Knowlton Strategies, a multinational strategic communications firm with over 80 offices around the world and clients constituting half of the Fortune Global 500 list.
During his tenure at H+K, Martin redirected the firm’s focus to a 21st century public with particular emphasis on creative, content, corporate advisory, and data insights and analytics. He trademarked the “Fifth Seat” business advisory model, which several business publications have recognized as a leading model that leverages the importance of public trust as key to corporate success. This philosophy includes a public focus vital to C-suite decision- making by filling the “Fifth Seat” alongside lawyers, bankers, management consultants, and accountants. Martin restructured the firm’s senior management to maximize talent utilization and exceed client needs, and remained active in client service until stepping down.
Martin is recognized as a thought leader in business, politics, and communications. Since 2011, he has consistently been named annually to PRWeek’s Power List, a ranking of the 50 most influential figures in the field of communications. In 2014, PR News inducted Martin as a PR pioneer who has “helped to shape the world of public affairs consulting, public relations and corporate consulting for more than 25 years.” He was honored by the Center for Public Policy Priorities for his lifelong civic leadership. In 2016, the International Communications Consultancy Organization (ICCO), based in London, inducted Martin into its Hall of Fame. He was invested as a Member of the Order of St John on the instructions of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In February 2017, the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Austin Chapter awarded Jack and his wife Patsy the Philanthropist of the Year award for their work and leadership within the philanthropic community. In 2018, he received a Presidential Citation from the University of Texas at Austin, which recognizes extraordinary contributions of individuals who personify the university’s commitment to transforming lives. Most recently, he was awarded the Individual Achievement SABRE Award at the Holmes Report’s 2019 North America SABRE awards ceremony in New York.
Before assuming the role of global chairman and CEO of Hill+Knowlton Strategies in 2011, he founded Public Strategies, which grew into one of the most successful corporate advisory firms in America. The WPP Group acquired Public Strategies in 2006 and merged it with Hill & Knowlton, creating Hill+Knowlton Strategies, in 2011.
Martin’s career was markedly shaped by his long-time association with U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen from Texas. He served as Senator Bentsen’s executive assistant in the U.S. Senate and campaign manager of his last two re-election campaigns. Martin pioneered cutting-edge campaign techniques that resulted in record-setting outcomes in both of Bentsen’s last campaigns.
Martin served as senior advisor to the Democratic National Committee and U.S. Senate Democratic Committee and was the primary consultant for Ann Richards’s successful race for Texas governor and for Bob Bullock’s successful campaign for Texas Lt. Governor. Martin was chairman of Governor-elect Ann Richards’s Transition Committee. In 1994, Governor-elect George W. Bush and Lt. Governor Bob Bullock appointed Martin co-chair of the Texas Inaugural Committee.
Martin was previously chairman of Texas State University System’s Board of Regents and was named a Distinguished Alumni. Further, he has served on the boards of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation, Caesar Kleberg Foundation for Wildlife Conservation, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Baylor College of Medicine, and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He currently serves as chairman-elect of the board of Baylor Scott & White Health. Martin has received gubernatorial appointments to positions in public service by four Texas governors from both sides of the aisle.
Jack is married to Patsy Woods Martin. The Martins carry on the grand Texas ranching traditions that have been a part of both of their families for five generations. Their JPM Ranch Company currently owns the Mallard Creek Ranch in Montague, Texas and the Open C Ranch in Forestburg, Texas. The Martins are proud members of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Texas Farm Bureau, and the American Quarter Horse Association.