School of Policy Studies

School of Policy Studies
School of Policy Studies

Managing Risk: Preventing political animals from running the zoo

Mike Coates

President and CEO, Americas Region, Hill+Knowlton Strategies' Global Council

Thursday March 9, 2017,  12:00 pm 
Robert Sutherland Hall, 138 Union Street, Room 202

** Light lunch starts at 11:30 AM             All are Welcome

From foreign investment to pipelines Parliament has passed laws that govern the approval of major projects and transactions in Canada. While public servants do their best to administer legislation they often face political pressure from politicians who want their cake and eat it too when it comes to high profile decisions. This presentation will look at the increasing politicization of major projects and transactions and how the private sector works with governments to mitigate political risks.

Mike Coates | March 9, 2017


Mike Coates

President and CEO, Americas Region
Hill+Knowlton Strategies' Global Council


Mike Coates is a member of Hill+Knowlton Strategies' Global Council and serves as President and CEO of the Americas region, which includes operations in the United States, Canada and Latin America.

An experienced strategist, Coates has extensive experience counseling companies on political risk and designing and executing public affairs and public relations campaigns for complex transactions. In the past, he worked on CNOOC's acquisition of Nexen, worked with BHP Billiton in its attempted acquisition of Potash Corp; TMX on its proposed merger with the LSE and its successful merger with Maple; and Sinopec's successful purchase of Daylight Energy.

Coates is a proven and dedicated leader with a long history with H+K. Leading Hill+Knowlton Strategies Canada since 1995, Coates directed a process of change that moved the company to an extended period of growth. From an internal perspective, evidence of Coates’s leadership and ability to attract and retain the absolute best talent in the business is seen in Hill+Knowlton Canada’s selection by the Great Place to Work Institute as one of Canada’s best workplaces for the last eight consecutive years.

He maintains an active involvement with some of Hill+Knowlton’s largest clients and he remains one of the firm’s leading public affairs consultants. He was recently named one of Canada's "Top 50 Most Powerful People" in Canadian Business and one of "15 PR People to Watch for 2015" in the Holmes Report.  He has also been named as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in Government and Politics” by The Hill Times. He was elected into Algonquin College’s Media Hall of Fame.

His consulting career began in 1983 as a consultant with Public Affairs International (PAI), a management-owned public policy company. PAI sold its shares to Hill+Knowlton in 1989 and he became General Manager of the Ottawa office shortly thereafter. Prior to consulting, Mike worked on the hill as a political aide and was treasurer of the conservative fund. He led Prime Minister Harper's election debate prep team in the 2004, 2006 and 2008 elections.

A graduate of the Rotman School of Management's corporate governance program, Coates also received his M.A. in political science from York University and his M.P.A. from Queen's University. He is a current director of CANDU Energy Inc. and a former director of the National Quality Institute. Coates is married with three daughters.