Edelman duo apologise to former agency Hill & Knowlton for ‘soliciting’ clients and staff

Edelman_LogoPR agency Hill & Knowlton has released copies of letters of apology it has obtained from former CEO Michelle Hutton and former director of consumer practice Anna MacIntosh to settle its legal case against them and new employer Edelman.

hutton letter no signature

(Michelle Hutton's signature obscured by Mumbrella for security reasons)

Edelman boss Michelle HuttonThe release of the letters came after Hutton yesterday said in a statement that the matter had been resolved without disclosing the nature of the settlement. She told Mumbrella today: “I signed the letter, but I didn’t write it.”

The legal battle became public four months ago. Hill & Knowlton, owned by WPP, had alleged that the pair breached their contracts in dealing with former clients and colleagues.

In yesterday’s statement from Hutton she said: “A range of allegations were made against each of us, and we have jointly defended our conduct and position in relation to these matters very strongly. We look forward to putting the proceedings behind us and getting on with business at Edelman Australia.”

The text of MacIntosh’s letter was the same as Hutton’s.

The apology was sent to Vivian Lines, COO of Hill & Knowlton Asia Pacific. Sue Cook heads up Hill & Knowlton locally having been confirmed as MD in May.

This morning Hutton – who worked for Hill & Knowlton for 19 years – told Mumbrella: “I’m disappointed but not surprised that Hill & Knowlton has made this statement public.” As well as releasing the letter to Mumbrella, Hill & Knowlton has placed the details the agency’s global website.

Hutton added: “But now it’s time to get on with business.”

The outcome of the legal battle is similar to that between another WPP agency and former staff. Following the organisation’s purchase of George Patterson – now GPY&R – the subsequent departure of staffers Anthony Heraghty and James McGrath triggered a legal battle. The case was eventually ended in late 2009 with a confidential settlement along with an apology to WPP from the pair.


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