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Press release from Business Wire

Hill+Knowlton Canada's health practice strengthens senior leadership

<p class='bwalignc'> <i>Leslie McGill joins, Francine Beck appointed to new role</i> </p>

Monday, March 18, 2013

Hill+Knowlton Canada's health practice strengthens senior leadership10:35 EDT Monday, March 18, 2013 TORONTO (Business Wire) -- Hill+Knowlton Strategies (H+K), Canada's No. 1-rated public relations and public affairs firm, today announces two appointments in the national health practice. Leslie McGill joined the firm as senior vice-president and Francine Beck has been promoted to senior vice-president. Both share leadership of the company's health practice. “Our most distinguishing feature is that we can seamlessly integrate public affairs and public relations from coast to coast – there isn't another agency in Canada like us,” says Mike Coates, chairman and CEO of H+K Canada. “We've put tremendous focus on building a strong health team with diverse talents so we can address the ever-evolving needs of our growing roster of health clients; and we're illustrating that from the top down with Leslie and Francine's appointments.” Francine Beck is a 20-year health-consulting veteran. She has extensive communications and marketing expertise, supporting domestic and global clients in the life sciences (pharmaceutical), consumer health, environment and physical activity sectors. A former journalist, she is a seasoned media relations strategist with expertise in stakeholder engagement, sponsorship amplification, social marketing campaigns and health-care professional communications. Prior to joining H+K, Francine worked in a senior capacity at another international agency playing a lead role in business development for health-focused clients. In addition to her work in health and pharmaceuticals, she was also lead agency counsel for TO 2008 – Toronto's bid for the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games – and mobilized support for Toronto, working with government leaders and journalists from around the world. Leslie McGill is a seasoned health-care strategist who joins H+K directly from the Ontario Pharmacists' Association where, as vice-president strategic development, she integrated the communications, partnerships and membership functions of the Association and led several complex projects including multi-partner communications for the province-wide roll out of pharmacists' increased scope of practice. As senior vice-president for Medbuy Corporation, Canada's leading health-care group purchasing organization, Leslie developed a deep understanding of both the Canadian and U.S. landscapes for bulk purchasing – not only for pharmaceuticals, but also medical capital equipment, medical devices and medical/surgical consumables. During her 25 years in health-care communications, marketing and public affairs she has consulted to a wide range of public- and private-sector organizations, providing counsel on product launches, fundraising, reputation management, corporate social responsibility, strategic partnerships, brand positioning, change management and community relations. “There is no doubt that our health team's cumulative experience is second to none. With this new leadership in place, the scope of our health-care offering positions us as the benchmark for best-in-class health-care communications in Canada,” adds Coates. This announcement follows the recent appointment of Michelle McLean in H+K's Ottawa office. Michelle returned to H+K after nearly three years as vice-president public affairs at the Mental Health Commission of Canada. About Hill+Knowlton Strategies Canada With nine offices across the country, Hill+Knowlton Strategies is a leader in both public relations and public affairs. The company is the No. 1-rated strategic communications firm in Canada. It specializes in corporate communications, public affairs, marketing communications, crisis, energy, technology, health care, digital communications, financial communications and transactions. The only communications firm to have earned the Order of Excellence from Excellence Canada, it is also recognized as one of the 2012 Best Workplaces in Canada. Its parent company, Hill+Knowlton Strategies Inc., has 89 offices in 52 countries as well as an extensive associate network and is a member of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY), one of the world's largest communications services groups. Hayley JudgeHill+Knowlton Canada416-413-4730hayley.judge@hkstrategies.ca