Interpublic's DeVries Taps Heidi Hovland as Global CEO

She Assumes the Role More than Year After U.S. CEO Stephanie Smirnov Left to Join Edelman

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Heidi Hovland
Heidi Hovland

Interpublic PR shop DeVries has tapped FleishmanHillard's Heidi Hovland as its global CEO.

She takes on the global role more than a year after U.S. CEO Stephanie Smirnov left the mid-sized shop to lead Edelman's consumer marketing group in New York.

Ms. Hovland has spent nearly 20 years at Omnicom's FleishmanHillard and was most recently deputy general manager of the group's New York office.

She's now DeVries' fourth global CEO in its 36-year-long history, and tasked with building on the shop's heritage of marketing to women.

"I've always been a consumer marketer," said Ms. Hovland. "One of the interesting things at DeVries is how it has always been proud of who and what it is. I haven't seen that in a lot of other place that try to meet the market by changing how they present themselves."

Ms. Hovland's experience ranges from food brands to consumer-packaged goods. She ran Absolut Vodka early in her career at MSLGroup, and then various other accounts such as Hyatt, Barnes & Noble, Chobani and Citibank during her long tenure at FleishmanHillard. Ms. Hovland headed FleishmanHillard's brand marketing group in New York from 2003 to 2013, and she co-founded FH Moms, the agency's Marketing to Moms practice group.

While a unique consumer player at its relatively small size, with clients like Procter & Gamble's Olay and Pantene brands, DeVries will likely benefit from a boost of energy and new global leadership as multi-brand clients like P&G continue to consolidate and evaluate their agency relationship structures.

"Over the past five years our agency has experienced enormous change -- moving from a single midsize Madison Avenue office to now enjoying full service agencies/representation on four continents and one sub-continent," said Jim Allman, DeVries Global Chairman, in a statement. "And keeping with tradition: all six DeVries Global offices are led by outstanding female PR pros/executives. Heidi will take this new DeVries reality and continue to shape, grow and evolve it for the next 15, or why not, 20 years to come."

DeVries has offices in New York, Beijing, London and Mumbai, among other cities.

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