Phillips joined Edelman in 2004 when the US giant bought his agency Jackie Cooper PR. He was soon identified as a high-flyer by global boss Richard Edelman and then EMEA boss David Brain (now running Asia). Phillips was promoted to UK CEO in 2007 replacing Stuart Smith.
Promoted again to the EMEA brief in 2010, Philips opened Edelman in Turkey and Switzerland and bolstered operations in Russia.
Roberts is understood to be focusing on teaching in the short-term, given his recent appointment as visiting professor at Cass Business School, part of City University, London and writing his second book of ‘public engagement’.
EMEA chief operating officer Susan Eastoe will serve as ‘interim leader’ while the agency reviews the structure.
Edelman added: ‘I know Robert will remain very much a close friend of the broad Edelman family.’