A message from Vice Chairman Tom Hoog on the passing of Hill+Knowlton Strategies' Frank Mankiewicz, "a patriot, an idealist and a consummate communications professional," shared with his global colleagues earlier this morning. 

Our firm and our country last night lost a patriot, an idealist and a consummate communications professional. Frank Mankiewicz, who since 1983 had been the Washington persona of Hill+Knowlton Strategies, devoted his life to public service and the public good. With Frank’s passing, we all pause to honor his commitment to the truth, his contribution to our clients, and his outstanding career in communications.

A mentor to generations of Hill+Knowlton colleagues and a trusted counselor to hundreds of clients, Frank was a close friend of mine for more than 40 years. His wisdom about public affairs, his sound judgment about forever upholding the truth, and his enduring sense of humor amid adversity inspired us all. Frank was in a league of his own as a professional and as a public servant. And, more than any other individual in Hill+Knowlton’s history, he helped shape the character of our firm.

Everyone who knew Frank benefited from his insight and reveled in his joyful sense of humor – and everyone who met him instantly recognized the clarity he brought to the toughest of challenges in public affairs. Clients esteemed his counsel and colleagues rejoiced in his company. No one ever brought more verve to a client engagement or more gusto to “fighting the good fight.”


 

Among Frank’s greatest strengths was his commitment to teaching the lessons he had learned, throughout his long experience in public affairs, to the rising generation of Hill+Knowlton staff members. Every conversation with Frank was a history lesson, peppered by personal recollections of Kennedys and Kings, senators and sinners, lawmakers and lawbreakers. No one enjoyed a high-spirited political yarn more than Frank did, and no one was ever quicker with a quip or a crisp comeback. A wordsmith by instinct, he readily found the precisely right word for every situation – and his wise counsel helped discover the precisely right positioning for our clients.

With his zest for “the people side” of politics and his zeal for “the public side” of public affairs, Frank wouldn’t want us to mourn today. Instead, he’d want us to remember a life fully lived and recommit ourselves to a profession he fully loved.

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know hundreds of Hill+Knowlton friends and thousands of public affairs leaders. But, in the wide realm of public life and public service, there was only one personality as rollicking and robust as Frank Mankiewicz. Our lives are richer for having known him. We all loved him. We all esteemed him. And we all grieve for his passing.

Today, we pause to remember Frank, with all the puckish wit and all the serious substance that he devoted to our firm. Tomorrow, we’ll all go out there and – just as Frank himself would – “fight the good fight” again, remembering Frank’s irreplaceable spirit and rededicating ourselves to Frank’s inspiring ideals.

- Tom 

A message from Jack Martin on the passing of Robert "Bob" Gray, former chairman and CEO of Hill & Knowlton, shared with his global colleagues earlier today.

A legend in the field of public relations and public affairs passed away in Miami on Friday evening. Robert Gray, former chairman and CEO of Hill & Knowlton, was 92.

                    
 
Bob joined our firm after serving as Cabinet Secretary for President Dwight Eisenhower. A friend of H+K’s co-founder, John Hill, Bob played an early role in developing what would become known as "public affairs." In his career, Bob helped to shape President Richard Nixon's election, was deputy director of the Reagan-Bush presidential campaign, and served as co-chairman of Ronald Reagan's first presidential inauguration.
 
A moderate Republican, Bob understood the importance of providing counsel to clients with interests on both sides of the political aisle. He hired Frank Mankiewicz, who remains an H+K  strategic counselor in Washington. Frank—a former press secretary to Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, president of NPR, and campaign manager for Sen. George McGovern's '72 presidential campaign—remembers Bob with fondness:

“Bob was a friend and guide, in addition to being a powerful factor in his industry. He hired well-known Democrats like me and Gary Hymel, and when asked what clients we were bringing to the firm, Bob would reply, 'They’re good people; if you hire good, competent people, the clients will follow. That’s how we’re going to build our business.' We loved him for that confidence, and the trust he placed in each of us. May God rest his joyous soul.”
 
In the late 80s, Bob continued to shape the industry landscape, engineering the acquisitions of Wexler Reynolds and Hoog & Associates to further add to our public affairs capabilities.
 
Tom Hoog, vice chairman and former CEO of H+K U.S, recalls his friend's character: "Bob was a visionary and a person of enormous personal class and integrity. I always admired his commitment to mentoring young people, providing them the opportunity to be all they can be - it is what has inspired my own commitment to training and mentorship. He was the consummate leader, a loving friend to all, and a credit to the profession. We will all miss him."
 
We owe Bob a debt of thanks for the role he played in building H+K—one of the oldest and most respected firms in the world. I've expressed those thanks and our condolences to his family on behalf of us all.

Jack