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Edelman

Spin the Agencies of Record

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Edelman Makes Two New SVP Hires

simiThis week Edelman announced two new hires: David Ryan will be the firm’s SVP of financial communications in Toronto and Simi Ranajee will be SVP of market access in Chicago.

Before the hire, Ryan spent nearly a decade with Longview Communications, a Toronto firm specializing in financial and corporate comms. Ryan entered finance after a stint in the world of advertising; he handled PR internally for agencies Colour and Grey Toronto after beginning his career as a journalist.

Scott Thomson, deputy general manager of Edelman Toronto, writes:

“Ryan’s appointment establishes the firm as a credible contender to support major financial transactions and special situations.”

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Edelman Names New York President

CohanFollowing the promotion of Russell Dubner to President/CEO of its U.S. operations, Edelman has named his successor: Jen Cohan.

Cohan will be president of Edelman New York effective July 1; she currently serves as global chair of the firm’s consumer marketing practice, and in her new role she will report directly to Dubner.

In the release, Dubner writes:

“Jennifer is a seasoned business leader and marketer who has deep experience working with both consumer and corporate brands…Jen’s skills will serve the office well as she charts new ways to bring even greater value to our clients’ business.”

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Edelman Names New U.S. President/CEO

EdelmanToday Edelman announced that Russell Dubner–who currently holds the position of president, Edelman New York–will be the next head and CEO of the firm’s entire U.S. operation.

Effective June 1st, Dubner will oversee Edelman’s fourteen U.S. offices after running the New York office for six years and managing its 800 employees. He replaces the departing Mark Haas, who “more than doubled” the size of the firm’s China operations before returning to New York in 2012.

Dubner has been deeply involved in various internal Edelman initiatives for some time, contributing to the firm’s Participation Platform, thought leadership methodology and Master Narrative approach to corporate communications.

In addition to his new title and responsibilities, Dubner’s promotion also earns him a spot on Edelman’s Executive Committee.

Dubner will report to global COO Matthew Harrington; the fact that he joined the firm as an entry-level account exec in 1992 should provide some encouragement for the optimistic among us.

Edelman Scores #3 Spot on ‘Top 50 CEOs’ List

We’re not exactly sure which qualities make a chief executive a favorite among employees, but Richard Edelman has them: he’s the only communications chief to appear on Glassdoor’s new 2014 list of the world’s highest rated CEOs, topped by Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn.

In fact, no PR leaders appeared on last year’s list, which featured Mark Zuckerberg in the first position.

We can’t say we’re terribly surprised given the industry’s reputation for keeping things very close to its chest, but one may gain some insights from former and current employees’ reviews, which provided the data for the list. Here are Edelman’s (nice widget, BTW):


The reviews are almost universally positive, with a notable focus on company culture and career opportunities (hardly a surprise at the world’s biggest independent agency).
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Edelman Appoints New Head of Chicago Office

2756a9891d9fecb8e56ba61b7893dfa8In yet another revolving door announcement, Edelman named Jay Porter as the new president of its inaugural Chicago office.

Porter was most recently executive vice president and global client relationship manager for Starbucks; he’ll replace Rick Murray, who’s moving on to other endeavors, and report to U.S. president/CEO Mark Haas.

This won’t be Porter’s first stint with the firm: from 2005-2012 he alternately served as the Seattle Consumer practice, manager of the Axe account and EVP/general manager of the San Francisco office before taking over the Starbucks account.

Edelman’s made a few changes since announcing its 2014 “Show Up Differently” initiative; we’ll report on future updates.

Edelman Trust Barometer Results: It’s CSR Time

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The big conclusion everyone’s drawn from the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer is that the public’s confidence in both media and government has hit a low point. The most important metric is supposedly a jump in the gap between trust in business and trust in government, and the only three notable countries in which the latter trumps the former are South Korea, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates.

Hold on, though: this doesn’t mean that we’re about to enter some neo-Libtertarian utopia.

The findings can be summed up with three big letters: CSR.

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Now Is Apparently the Time for PR to Take on Advertising

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That’s according to Tom Foremski of ZDNET, who previously told us that Google doesn’t really want to kill all our press releases—it just wants to help us improve them.

His argument is that the PR industry has a “huge window of opportunity” in 2014 as the ad business splinters, traditional campaigns lose more of their power to convince and large-scale consolidation moves forward, further concentrating the talent pool and (arguably) smothering the creative urge beneath endless layers of bureaucracy.

Sounds familiar…

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Butterball #TurkeyTalk: Yes, We Hired Dudes and No, Our Turkeys Aren’t Filled With Butter

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It’s raining men at Turkey Talk this year.

In a revealing AP interview, Butterball CEO Rod Brenneman told us several important things that we will now share with you:

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Does Antonio Villaraigosa’s Edelman Gig Conflict with His Herbalife Gig?

It's just a question.

Yesterday’s announcement that former L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa would join Edelman to advise clients on public policy was interesting on its own, but one detail made it more so: last month the infamous “nutritional products company” Herbalife also hired him as an adviser.

This fact creates a conflict of interest, because venture capitalist Bill Ackman recently hired Edelman to help publicize his accusations that Herbalife is an illegal pyramid scheme in which the vast majority of paying members lose money. Both Villaraigosa and an Edelman spokesman say no such conflict exists, but we don’t see how that could be true considering that the most valuable advice Herbalife could receive from anyone right now concerns escaping the shadow of Ackman’s very public campaign (which, again, is managed by Edelman).

Ackman’s hardly the only one pressing Herbalife: while Villaraigosa praised the company for its “strong presence within the Latino community” when he took the job in September, several major Black and Latino advocacy groups recently called upon California’s attorney general to investigate its supposed misdeeds more thoroughly. In defense of Villaraigosa, Edelman’s global public affairs spokeswoman Katie Burke told the Los Angeles Times that he’s “not coming on board for any specific client or project”, which reads like a classic case of obfuscation.

At any rate, we wouldn’t put money on Herbalife if we had it.

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