Two former Hill & Knowlton Australia executives have apologized to the firm for poaching clients and staff, part of an out-of-court settlement after H&K brought legal action against them and Edelman, where they both now work.

Michelle Hutton, now Australia CEO for Edelman and former Australasia CEO for H&K, and Anna MacIntosh, consumer marketing director at Edelman who previously led H&K’s Australia consumer practice, have admitted in letters to H&K that they were “involved in soliciting certain clients and staff of H&K” while employed at Edelman.

“I recognize that my conduct was not appropriate in the circumstances and I apologize to H&K unreservedly,” each said in apology letters to H&K's Asia-Pacific president and CEO Vivian Lines.

Dave Robinson, president and CEO of H&K’s Australia, Middle East, Africa and South/Central Asia region, told O’Dwyer’s the complaint brought in Supreme Court of New South Wales was resolved out of court “substantially in the favor” of his agency. He noted apology letters from both executives were part of that deal and added that the actions they admitted to performing run counter to Edelman’s own ethics code.

In a statement to O’Dwyer’s, Hutton said she is pleased that the legal proceedings against her, MacIntosh and Edelman have been concluded.

“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,” she said. “We look forward to putting the proceedings behind us and getting on with business at Edelman Australia.”

H&K is part of WPP. Edelman is independent.