Huntsworth appoints Edelman's Pete Pedersen to head Grayling

Huntsworth has announced the hire of Edelman's Pete Pedersen as global chief executive of Grayling, while stating that 'rigorous' cost savings will deliver a double-digit rise in profitability in 2012.

Lord Chadlington: Huntsworth CEO
Lord Chadlington: Huntsworth CEO

Pedersen has spent nearly 20 years at Edelman, where he was a leading member of the executive team on key accounts such as Microsoft and Xbox, before becoming global chair of the Edelman technology practice.

He replaces Michael Murphy, who announced his intention to leave last July after three years to 'build a portfolio career'.

Lord Chadlington, CEO of Huntsworth, said: ‘Pete is a seasoned operator with long experience of winning and handling global accounts, and has built a global technology practice which over the last few years has averaged double-digit growth.

‘I’m confident that Pete’s client, technology and management experience will be a great fit with Grayling as it takes the next step towards becoming a global PR business with social media and technology at its core.’

The owner of Citigate, Grayling and Red said in a pre-close trading statement that revenues were hit in 2012, but the group will report a significant rise in profits.

The statement read: ‘Group revenues in 2012 were, in common with other companies in the marketing services sector, adversely affected by the economic conditions in the UK and Europe – which account for circa 60 per cent of group revenues – and by the downturn in financial and corporate activity in the UK financial markets.’

However, the statement added that ‘rigorous cost control’ would deliver a double-digit improvement in profitability in 2012 over the previous year and that the board expected to meet current management expectations.

Huntsworth said that its net debt position has improved ahead of management expectations, with the balance at the end of the year expected to be circa £67m.

Sally Withey, group chief operating officer and group finance director, said: ‘I am pleased that despite the difficult economy we will deliver strong profit growth and tight cost control this year.

‘With some early signs of more positive economic conditions in some of our markets, we are focusing on growing revenues, winning more global accounts and leveraging our expertise and leadership in digital communications into more of our work.’

The group’s 2012 preliminary results will be announced on 25 April.

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