HomeGlobalNewsroomBurson Names Kelli Parsons as New Global CEO of Hill & Knowlton

Burson Names Kelli Parsons as New Global CEO of Hill & Knowlton

June 4, 2024

NEW YORK, June 4, 2024 – Hill & Knowlton and BCW, which will merge as of July 1, 2024, to form Burson, today announced the appointment of Kelli Parsons as Global CEO of Hill & Knowlton, which will operate as a full-service global firm within the Burson group of brands. Effective July 1st, Parsons will succeed AnnaMaria DeSalva, who has led Hill & Knowlton as Global Chairman and CEO since June 2019 and will become Global Chairman, Burson, as previously announced.   

Established almost a century ago as the original communication consultancy, Hill & Knowlton is a leader in the rapidly changing corporate affairs paradigm, innovating to meet the increasing demand for strategic communications solutions. The company has focused on building substantial capability to serve clients as a strategic and creative partner for growth, reputation capital and resiliency, and long-term value creation in today’s complex operating environment.

“Hill & Knowlton has played a seminal role in our industry since its inception, and our team has pursued a period of rigorous development over the last several years,” said DeSalva. "We are thrilled that H&K will continue to grow its central role in strategic communication as part of Burson, and that Kelli Parsons will lead the firm going forward. Kelli is a highly trusted and admired leader in our field. She has been a guiding force on our leadership team since rejoining H&K in 2020. Following her years in major client leadership roles and two substantial tours of duty as a senior leader at Hill & Knowlton, as CEO Kelli will bring deep knowledge of our industry, our people and clients, and vision for the opportunities ahead. I am proud to advance this leadership transition, and I look forward to continuing to work with Kelli and to supporting Hill & Knowlton’s future success in my new role.”

Hill & Knowlton will operate as a full-service global firm within the Burson group. The firm advises clients on transformational journeys, providing strategic communication, marketing and corporate affairs solutions distinguished by intelligence and creativity. A proven partner for business and brand transformation, Hill & Knowlton will serve as a growth engine and source of conflict management within the Burson group of brands.

“Hill & Knowlton brings exceptionally complementary expertise and brand equity to the flagship Burson and will serve as a powerful offering alongside Axicom, Buchanan Communications and GCI Health in our group of brands, which together offer clients world-class expertise across every global industry and sector,” said Corey duBrowa, Global CEO, BCW, who will become Global CEO, Burson, upon completion of the merger. "H&K’s expert strategic counsel and focus on the business impact of reputation creates significant value for clients, and I look forward to its continued success under Kelli’s leadership.”   

Parsons noted, “I’m honored to lead my exceptional colleagues in earning our clients’ trust as a strategic and creative partner. A former CCMO, I understand the imperative to create value for the business and its stakeholders amid myriad expectations in a dynamic operating environment. Communication has never played a more transformative role as companies drive growth, innovate and engage with their communities. We’re proud of our clients and their impact on business and society. I’m excited to support their growth and influence with the unmatched resources of the Burson network.”    

Parsons brings 30 years of experience in journalism, agency and corporate leadership to her role. As the current global chair of corporate affairs and advisory at Hill & Knowlton, she has been instrumental in the growth of the firm’s global advisory business, helping clients solve challenges and capitalize on opportunities at the intersection of corporate strategy and communication. Previously, Parsons served as Chief Communication and Marketing Officer for Fortune 50 companies, where she focused on developing multi-stakeholder communication strategies to build trust during large-scale transformations. Earlier, she led H&K’s New York and Washington, D.C. markets, its corporate and technology practices, and largest global client relationship. Parsons is actively involved in the progression of the communication profession and development of its future leaders. She serves as chair of the board of trustees of Page and as a trustee of the Institute for Public Relations.