Brussels – 1st August, 2011 – Weber Shandwick, one of the world's leading global public relations agencies, has appointed Jill Hamilton as its first Regional Director for Africa, effective immediately.
Based in Johannesburg, Hamilton will take the lead on growing business and further strengthening multi-market client relationships on the Continent, and help manage and expand Weber Shandwick's growing network of affiliates, partners and wholly-owned businesses in Africa. She will report to Weber Shandwick's EMEA CEO Colin Byrne and will be a member of the firm's EMEA management team.
Weber Shandwick currently has a broad footprint in Africa that has been built over years of reliable and trusted partnerships. Through long-standing affiliates and partners, Weber Shandwick can cover the majority of the Continent – especially major hubs such as Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya, and South Africa.
Hamilton has a broad background in international affairs, public relations, and communication development within emerging markets. She has worked in more than 30 countries with a special interest in Africa. Originally from the United States, Hamilton has lived in Africa for more than 10 years, spending long periods of time in East Africa, Botswana and Namibia, while working in over 21 countries across the Continent. She now resides in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Hamilton started Weber Shandwick's affiliate African PR network ZK Public Relations - the first truly pan-African PR agency - in 2003 while living in Tanzania. The company was successfully rolled out to represent 15 markets across the Continent including: South Africa; Tanzania; Uganda; Kenya; Malawi; Zambia; Sierra Leone; Nigeria; Niger; T Chad; Gabon; Burkina Faso; Congo DRC; Congo Brazzaville; and Madagascar.
Prior to ZK Public Relations, she was a journalist and media consultant focusing on investment opportunities in emerging markets. Her work was featured in media major outlets including CNBC, New York Post, New York Daily News and Die Zeit.
Commenting on the appointment, Weber Shandwick's Chairman Jack Leslie said: "Africa contains 40 Sub-Saharan countries with well over two thousand languages spoken on a daily basis – these figures alone show the diversity and complexity the continent possesses. With this diverse geographical, social, political, and commercial landscape communications will play a key role in helping Africa realize its growth goals. As a firm we have already showed our passion and commitment to the continent by executing several very successful Pan-African communications campaigns; one major highlight was managing Africa's biggest rebranding when mobile giant Celtel rebranded to Zain simultaneously in 15 markets across the continent."
Added Colin Byrne: "Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to generate seven out of 10 of the world's fastest-growing economies over the next five years. With a population of over 800 million, and emerging economies powered by mobile communications, Africa is becoming a very competitive playing field. In order to stay ahead, firms and organisations must have a strategic and focused approach to the Continent, as many of our clients already have."