Howard Paster, former chairman and CEO of Hill & Knowlton and a veteran advisor to President Bill and Hillary Clinton, died Aug. 10. He was 66.
Paster led H&K for eight years, from 1994-2002, joining the WPP unit after directing the Clinton White House Office of Legislative Affairs and advising the president.
He had recently led WPP’s PR division -- including H&K, Burson-Marsteller, Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Cohn & Wolfe -- as executive VP and counseled President Barack Obama on Congressional relations.
“He was that rare mix of administrative efficiency and strategic brilliance,” said H&K’s global chairman and CEO Jack Martin, who added that Paster played a big role in his decision to sell Public Strategies to H&K in 2010. “No office or client was too far away and his kind touch was felt by employees all over the H&K network.”
President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement Thursday morning remembering Paster for a dedication to public service, as well as for passion and candor.
“As my Assistant for Congressional Relations, Howard made a tremendous difference in ensuring that my administration was able to carry out some of our most crucial initiatives,” said Obama.
Paster was also chief operating officer for Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign.
H&K vice chair Tom Hoog credited Paster with engineering the firm’s turnaround.
“With its morale shaken, the firm needed more than the routine corporate steps of cost-cutting and talent development,” he said. "[Howard] knew corporate culture was required, and … he knew that integrity had to be authentic and had to flow from the top down.”
Paster, who also helped Clinton pollster Mark Penn transition into the CEO role at Burson-Marsteller, was also elected president of the Little League Foundation in 2002. An annual award for urban volunteer initiatives for youth baseball is named after Paster and his wife, Gail.