Leadership

Susanne Marell

CEO
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Susanne Marell is CEO of Hill+Knowlton Strategies in Germany. Before joining H+K she was Managing Director at JP KOM and prior to that she served as CEO of Edelman for six years, overseeing the acquisition and merger with ergo Kommunikation.

After her studies she started her career as a consultant with the agency Kohtes & Klewes (now Ketchum). In the following years, Marell worked for companies such as Schering, Hoechst and Aventis CropScience. As Head of Communications and Market Services, her responsibilities included strategic communications support for merger and acquisition activities.

In 2000, she moved to the chemical company Cognis and, as Vice President Corporate Communications, took over the management of worldwide corporate and sustainability communications. Following the acquisition of Cognis by BASF in 2010, Susanne was responsible for global brand management as Vice President Corporate Brand Management at BASF in Ludwigshafen.

Susanne is a certified systemic consultant and change expert. She has many years of international experience in communications, marketing and sustainability, both on the corporate and agency side.

In addition to that, she is a co-founder of the German network of “Global Women in PR” and has built up the initiative “Next Gen Leadership” as a member of the extended board.


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Udo Becker

Managing Director + Head of Corporate Reputation
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Udo Becker is heading the Corporate Reputation unit and leads the energy practice and crisis services at Hill+Knowlton Strategies in Germany. He is specialised in transnational stakeholder programmes, corporate reputation, financial communications, crisis communications,  internal communications, Executive coaching and media training. He has been working especially for international clients such as Nord Stream, Nord Stream 2, Shell, IKEA, Ford, Statkraft und die Compass Group.

Prior to Hill+Knowlton Strategies he worked for Heyde AG, a publicly listed IT-Services company, as Head of Corporate Communications. Before that he was heading the European Corporate/Technology practice of Edelman Public Relations in Frankfurt. Among his responsibilities at Edelman was consult technology companies prior, during, and post their IPO at Deutsche Boerse.

Right after his studies he worked for Measurex Corporation where he held various management positions in sales and marketing. During his time with Measurex he spent a few years in their headquarters in Cupertino, California, managing the company’s global OEM program, including B2B communications.

Udo has a BSEE of the University of Osnabrueck. The active football referee also holds a number of honorary functions at the Football Association of Hesse, Germany.


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Catherine Dächert-Tessier

Chief Financial Officer
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Catherine Dächert-Tessier is Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and member of the executive board of Hill+Knowlton Strategies. She joined Hill+Knowlton, the communications and brand consultancy with the longest tradition in Germany and one of the top agencies worldwide, in 2014. ​

Catherine Dächert-Tessier has more than 20 years of experience in finance and administration management in international companies.  ​

Before joining Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Catherine had worked at Cohn & Wolfe for 13 years. As their Finance Director she worked for the German agencies before taking on the role of Finance Director Germany & France. Catherine started her career as administration and finance manager at GE Plastics in Germany. In 1995 she became financial reporting manager at Citibank in Frankfurt and four years later was named financial controller at Young & Rubicam. Two years later, she travelled for one year around the world, mainly to Asia and South America. ​

Catherine graduated from EPSCI (Groupe ESSEC) in Paris and Hanse Polytechnics in Groningen (The Netherlands).


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Thomas Wimmer

Managing Director + Head of Corporate+Public Affairs
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Thomas Wimmer is a member of the executive board of H+K Germany and heads the Berlin office of Hill+Knowlton Strategies. He has 25 years of experience in communications and public affairs consulting for numerous German and international companies and organizations. He focusses on the areas of corporate & public affairs and stakeholder communications and also works for clients aiming to raise public acceptance for specific projects or topics.

Prior to joining H+K, Thomas was a Partner at the Brunswick Group, a global communications consultancy. Earlier in his career, Thomas worked at Burson-Marsteller in Frankfurt, New York and Berlin for eleven years. 

Thomas is an experienced professional who has consulted clients from various sectors, among them media and technology, energy, biotechnology, chemicals, mining and raw materials, consulting, agriculture, sports as well as transport and infrastructure.

He is a founding member of  the „Netzwerk Public Affairs” and actively involved in a number of other organizations and networks. He contributes regularly to trade publications and speaks at conferences and seminars. Thomas studied history, political science and American studies at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, the University of California and the University of Colorado.​


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Miriam Holbe

Managing Director + Head of Marketing Communications
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As Board Director  and Head of Marketing Communications, Miriam is responsible for providing insight and strategic counsel to a variety of consumer clients at Hill+Knowlton in Germany. 

Before joining Hill+Knowlton, Miriam spent several years working for some of the leading international PR networks such as Fleishman-Hillard in New York, Ketchum Pleon in Düsseldorf, Grayling in Berlin and Burson-Marsteller in Madrid. She also owned her own PR agency. Miriam has a distinguished 15 year track record in a wide variety of industry sectors planning and executing national and international PR campaigns. Her client portfolio included Gillette, Braun, Carpe Diem Kombucha, Hitachi, Smart, Pizza Hut, Mexico Tourism, LAN Airlines, and ABAMA Golf&Spa Resort. 

Miriam holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Sorbonne University in Paris and earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Strasbourg. She gained first work experiences as a Robert-Schuman-Scholar at the European Parliament in Brussels and working at the Delegation of the European Commission at the United Nations in New York. 


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André Wigger

Managing Director
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André is Managing Director and Member of the Management Team at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, based in Frankfurt/Germany. He oversees H+K’s innovation + creativity agenda in Germany including The Studio, a collective of creative + design hubs around the H+K network bringing to life the communication campaigns we develop for our clients. In this role he works closely with H+K’s Global Chief Creative + Innovation Officer.

Being an industry veteran with 20+ years of experience, André advises on change + employee engagement, crisis and issues management and provides purpose consultancy. His client roster includes large international Fortune 500 and DAX corporations as well as German Mittelstand. In his third role, André leads the business development of H+K in Germany.

Before joining H+K, André Wigger worked for the strategic communications consultancy Deekeling Arndt Advisors, the international PR network Burson-Marsteller, now BCW, and the communications agency Ahrens+Behrent, now A&B One.


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Jann Eicker

Chief Creative Strategy + Innovation Officer
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Jann is Chief Creative Strategy + Innovation Officer and Managing Director at Hill+Knowlton Strategies leading the transformation of the agency working alongside the CEO.

In his role, Jann leads the German Innovation + Creative Hub, continuing the transformation of the way communication strategies are delivered to clients across the global H+K network. As an insights and data driven innovator Jann works on integrated concepts across all channels and touchpoints for big brands, uncovering great insights that inspire innovative work which really changes behaviour.

At H+K Germany he works across all vertical sectors and specialisms to provide and develop the skills needed to combine effective strategy with high levels of creative and innovation craft. Jann brings experience in the areas of innovation, technology, strategy and creation to H+K. He was most recently at the Engine Group, where he helped build the German site as Head of Digital & Innovation. His career also includes leadership roles with Grey, Saatchi & Saatchi, Publicis Sapient, and prior to that, he co-founded a marketing agency which he successfully managed for 10 years.

He has more than 20 years experience of strategic management advisement, business transformation and runs integrated communications and marketing programs for big B2C and B2B brands in a wide variety of sectors including FMCG, Consumer Technology, Banking, Entertainment, Consumer Health, Live science, Retail, Food and Beverage, Leisure and Travel, Finance, Sports and Technology.

In addition to his activities at H+K, he is also involved as a jury member of the Shop! Environments Association as a member of the global Shop! Network, as a mentor of EHR e health research e.V., which investigates the use of immersive technologies for patients, as a member of the worldwide Quantified Self community and he was the founder of the Twittwoch event series, which deals with the digital world and its challenges.


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Markus Hermsen

Managing Director + Head of Technology
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For more than 20 years, Markus advises technology companies of all sizes around every aspect of result-driven communications. His portfolio of expertise includes product and corporate PR, Investor Relations (IPOs, annual financial reports, M&A) as well as integrated marketing campaigns to create brand awareness and lead generation.

Markus was already part of the H+K family between 2000 and 2008. After that he worked at FleishmanHillard as Managing Director in Germany and Senior Vice President in the firm’s global technology practice. At FH, he helped to establish the digital practice in Europe. Further stations included Hotwire and a few years as founder and owner of his own boutique consultancy.

In his work with clients, Markus puts a strong emphasis on storytelling. He helps clients to elaborate result-driven stories that really make an impact on their business. During his career, Markus has worked with brands like HP, SAP, Blackberry, Motorola, Xerox, Fujitsu, LinkedIn or Logitech.

Markus holds a Master degree in Political Sciences, Philosophy and English Literature from Johannes-Gutenberg-University in Mainz. He started his career in a small PR financial communications agency in Frankfurt.


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Britta Lange

Managing Director Corporate Reputation
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As Managing Director and Head of Industrials of Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ Corporate Reputation Practice in Germany, Britta Lange is providing strategic counsel to a variety of business-to-business and business-to-consumer clients. Britta brings 20 years of experience in international communications with a focus on consultancy for technology and industrial players with a strong focus on automotive and transportation, manufacturing and industry-of-things, connectivity and new mobility, urbanization and infrastructure. Her skills cover all communications disciplines including corporate communications, crisis and issues management, change and internal comms, media and influencer relations, social media and a focus on multi-national communication structures. Britta’s current client portfolio ranges from factory automation to steel production. 

Britta worked five years with international PR firms Hill+Knowlton and Burson-Marsteller before moving into corporate PR from 2001 to 2007, serving as Communications Manager Germany and East Europe for global automotive supplier Visteon. Before re-joining Hill+Knowlton Strategies in 2015, Britta worked as managing director for a communication consultancy specializing in the automotive industry. Previous client experience spans from industry, food, retail, consumer to luxury brands. Her current clients include Adient, Ford, Knorr-Bremse, P3 Logistic Parks, Pfleiderer, Stäubli and Yanfeng.

Britta holds a Master’s degree in International Cultural and Business Studies from the University of Passau in Germany and complemented this with further studies in Canada and Venezuela. 


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Tim Bechtel

Director Corporate Reputation​
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Tim is working for international clients from various industries. Among his clients are management consultancies, market researchers or law firms and recruiting firms as well as PE investors, multinational retailers and investors, developers and managers in the real estate business. Next to his broad experience in the professional services, retail and real estate industries, Tim is the main contact in Germany with regard to sponsorship and sports marketing activities. His team has recently activated a Bundesliga main sponsorship – the respective content marketing campaign was recognized with an award by “Deutscher Preis für Onlinekommunikation” and shortlisted at the SABRE Awards and other award shows such as PR Report Award. Tim’s main experience is in strategy development, media and stakeholder relations, corporate reputation and corporate affairs programs and in positioning experts and executives. 

Tim is part of H+K’s international crisis and media training team. He has worked in many crises and restructuring projects and has designed numerous media training and crisis simulation sessions. Before joining H+K Tim worked for a media communications and market research group and gathered experience as a journalist and as a PR freelancer. 

Tim studied Mass Media and German language and literature studies at the Universities of Freiburg, Berlin and Mainz and holds an M.A.. He also completed a MBA program with a focus on Public Affairs & Leadership at Quadriga University in Berlin.


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Romina Gerhards

Director, Head of Content + Publishing Strategy/Digital Planning + Optimization
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Romina Gerhards is one of Germany‘s leading experts in digital and content marketing. The passionate journalist and agency convert has 20 years of experience in developing customer centric content that drives reach and generates sales. She has done various pioneer projects in content martketing, while working with global B2B and B2C companies from different industries – e.g. beauty + fashion, FMCG, technology, financial services und travel + gastro.

Before joining Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Romina Gerhards led Proof, an agency of Bauer Media Group specializing in digital storytelling. Previously, she was a director and management board member at the international communication agency Achtung, where she built the content marketing practice from the ground up. Prior to that, she worked as a journalist with various publishing companies such as Bauer Media Group and Funke Mediengruppe.

Romina Gerhards started her career at Hill+Knowlton as Head of Technology. During her tenure she launched digital and content campaigns that attracted attention and awards for tech companies. In her new role as Head of Content + Publishing Strategy and Digital Planning + Optimization she offers consultation to companies and brands from all industries on topics ranging from content strategy to digitalization of distribution processes.

The Queensland University of Technology graduate and Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes alumna holds a Master‘s degree in journalism. She gives keynnote speeches on digital and content marketing and mentors students and young professionals.


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Dirk Greiling

Director Financial Services
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Dirk Greiling is based in Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ Frankfurt office. With his team, he advises Financial & Professional Services firms like consultancies, law firms, investment managers or fintech companies. His focus lies on integrated strategic advice for their corporate as well as product-centered communications in Germany and Austria, including capital markets. Dirk specializes in content planning and positioning.

With an experience of around 20 years in financial services communications, Dirk joined H+K from Edelman, where he lead a financial services communications team. He worked on a range of clients, asset managers, real estate firms, professional services providers and fintech companies. Before that, Dirk gathered experience in another agency specializing in financial services companies as well as capital market communications. Prior to this he was responsible for public relations, marketing and investor relations at a German stock exchange, a stockbroker company and a bank.

Dirk studied Business Administration at Heinrich-Heine-Universität in Düsseldorf before he started his communications career at a musical theatre.


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Jan Hemme

Director Corporate+Public Affairs
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Jan is based in Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ Berlin office and an expert in the areas of corporate & public affairs, media relations, issues management and stakeholder engagement. He serves clients from sectors such as defense and technology and provides senior counsel and strategic advisory for clients from the energy industry. 

Prior to H+K Jan worked at German Energy Agency (dena). Earlier in his career, he was a staffer and consultant for the chairman of a political party and a public affairs consultant at an owner-managed consultancy in Berlin.

Jan studied political sciences at the University of Münster in Germany and at Luther College (Decorah, IA, USA). He has spoken at various conferences and seminars on topics such as online democracy and crowdsourcing.


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