FleishmanHillard Introduces Next Generation of Global Sports Leadership

September 13, 2018


Agency Reimagines Sports Practice to Help Clients Drive Value for Investments, Responds to the Realities of Today’s High Stakes Reputation Environment

ST. LOUIS, September 13, 2018 – Building on its long heritage of delivering impactful sports communications programs for brands, teams, leagues and governing bodies, FleishmanHillard today announced a series of global leadership appointments to drive the relaunch of its sports practice, as well as new offerings to meet the needs of the moment.

Dianna Kraus, senior vice president and senior partner, has been named global managing director of FleishmanHillard Sports. Kraus has led strategic communications programs for global and domestic sponsors in the financial services, technology, automotive and consumer sectors. She brings deep expertise in brand activations around mega sporting events to the new role. In this role, Kraus will partner with newly designated regional leads to continue to expand unique service offerings targeted to the sports ecosystem, while building and expanding relationships with clients and prospects.

FleishmanHillard also announced the appointments of Steve Hickok, senior vice president and partner, to lead the Americas; Chris Gratton, director, to lead Europe; and Suki Zhao, senior vice president, to lead Asia. Hickok drives integrated campaigns and attention grabbing brand activations surrounding major sporting events, endorsement deals and partnerships. Gratton, a recent addition to the agency from Octagon Sports Marketing, specializes in core global sports sponsorships, and Zhao brings expertise in sports and entertainment brand marketing initiatives for multinational companies in Asia.

Founding partners of FleishmanHillard Sports and sports veterans, J.J. Carter, president of the Americas and COO, and Jim Woodcock, senior vice president and partner, remain active counselors, advisors and business drivers for this growing area of business for the agency and related client portfolio.

“The agency formally launched FleishmanHillard Sports in 2007, leaning into our experience helping some of the world’s most ambitious sponsors and most exciting leagues expand their business interests worldwide,” Carter said. “As our sports portfolio continues to expand, it’s very exciting to be able to appoint a new generation of great leaders to drive our next decade of growth for the practice.”

In 2018, FleishmanHillard Sports will place data-driven insights at the center of its offering with the launch of a sports-centric TRUE Global IntelligenceTM offering, powered by an integrated intelligence backbone called the FH Intelligence Engine, that is designed to deliver actionable insights to drive creative campaigns and sponsorship communications strategies and performance, while also protecting reputation surrounding major global events.

“It’s a fascinating time to work in sports. Teams are more sophisticated, athletes are building brands, leagues are wrestling with real issues, and fans expect more of them all,” said Kraus. “The stakes have never been higher for brands, but that risk comes with potential for reward. We get excited about helping clients earn the right to trade on the passion inherent to sports through compelling, credible programs that deliver real value for their bottom line. There’s no better time than the present for FleishmanHillard to be investing in its sports offering and I’m looking forward to working with this team to move it forward.”

FleishmanHillard Sports consists of more than 150 sports-centric communications counselors spanning nearly 40 offices around the world. As part of the relaunch, leadership will look to strengthen and expand its footprint in major markets, with a particular emphasis on Asia as the region has experienced an influx of sports investments and eyes a series of global events in the coming years.

About FleishmanHillard
FleishmanHillard specializes in public relations, reputation management, public affairs, brand marketing, digital strategy, social engagement and content strategy. FleishmanHillard was named Agency of the Year at the 2017 North American Excellence Awards; 2017 ICCO Network of the Year for the Americas and EMEA; PRWeek’s Best Places to Work 2017; PR News’ Best Places to Work in PR 2016-2017; Human Rights Campaign Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality for 2018; PR Awards Asia 2017 Greater China Agency of the Year; and NAFE’s “Top 50 Companies for Executive Women” for 2010-2018. The firm’s award-winning work is widely heralded, including at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity. FleishmanHillard is part of Omnicom Public Relations Group, and has more than 80 offices in 30 countries, plus affiliates in 43 countries.

About Omnicom Public Relations Group
Omnicom Public Relations Group is a global collective of three of the top global public relations agencies worldwide and specialist agencies in areas including public affairs, marketing to women, fashion, global health strategy and corporate social responsibility. It encompasses more than 6,000 public relations professionals in more than 330 offices worldwide who provide their expertise to companies, government agencies, NGOs and nonprofits across a wide range of industries. Omnicom Public Relations Group is part of the DAS Group of Companies, a division of Omnicom Group Inc., that includes more than 200 companies in a wide range of marketing disciplines including advertising, public relations, healthcare, customer relationship management, events, promotional marketing, branding and research.