Edelman promotes Harrington to global COO, Hass to US CEO

NEW YORK: Edelman will promote US CEO Matt Harrington to global COO, a newly created role at the agency, on July 1. The firm named Mark Hass, Edelman China president and former CEO of MS&L Worldwide, to replace Harrington.

NEW YORK: Edelman will promote US CEO Matt Harrington to global COO, a newly created role at the agency, on July 1. The firm named Mark Hass, Edelman China president and former CEO of MS&L Worldwide, to replace Harrington.

Harrington will also oversee the firm's four geographies – the US, EMEA, Asia-Pacific, and Canada and Latin America – and serve as chairman of the company's conflict management committee. He will also gain oversight of the firm's human resources, legal, and IT functions.

Harrington will report to Richard Edelman, president and CEO. The agency said in a statement that the promotions are intended to more efficiently manage the firm's future expansion and growth.

Edelman said the agency now earns $600 million in fees and is working in 20 markets with clients “who want us to do corporate, marketing, public affairs, experiential, and advertising.”

“The company has gotten geometrically more sizable and complex,” he said.   

Harrington added that he will help Edelman manage the company on a global basis and “will help share the burden.” He added that the agency's conflict management committee is "a reality of life when you get to be a company of our size."

Edelman said the company did not look beyond Harrington for the newly created global COO role.

“[Harrington] was the natural choice. He was running the biggest part of the company, and we have different but very compatible working styles,” he said. “His values are the values of the Edelman family.”

Edelman explained that the executive moves do not signal an immediate succession movement at the agency, saying he will spend more time on innovation in coming years.

Edelman named Harrington US president and CEO in July 2008, replacing Pam Talbot, who held the position for 12 years. Previously, he served as president of Edelman's eastern region, where he led the agency's New York and Atlanta offices. He was also president of the firm's western region.

In his 28-year career at Edelman, Harrington has worked on various aspects of the business, including consumer, financial, corporate, client services, and crisis management. He led efforts for the Odwalla apple juice recall in 1996, the Xbox business launch in 1999, and the Duke University lacrosse team incident in 2006, where a stripper alleged three players raped her. Harrington also offers strategic counsel to Edelman clients such as General Electric, Samsung, and Starbucks.

Edelman reported $575.1 million in global revenue for its 2010-11 fiscal year, which ended June 30 of last year, representing 18% year-over-year growth from the prior fiscal year. In the US, the firm reported 14% revenue growth to $367.2 million for the fiscal year.

Meanwhile, Edelman named Hass president and CEO of Edelman US, replacing Harrington. The firm appointed Hass (pictured left), former CEO of MS&L Worldwide, president of Edelman China in February 2010. He oversaw the company's Edelman and Pegasus operations in the Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou offices, serving clients including Pepsi, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, and General Electric.

Hass, who left MS&L in April 2009 to found corporate communications and social media firm MH Group Communications, merged his shop with Edelman's digital practice when he joined the firm.

MS&L acquired Hass' agency, Hass Associates, in 2002. The firm specialized in corporate, crisis, and litigation communications.

The firm also named Thomas Mattia (pictured right), former SVP of global public affairs and communications at Coca-Cola, chair of Edelman China. He most recently served as chief communications officer at Yale University and has worked at IBM, Hill & Knowlton in Hong Kong, and Ford.

Last month, Edelman created a conflict shop for Kellogg, which tapped the firm to run all PR efforts for its US brands. The firm, headquartered in Chicago and led by EVP Kathy Krenger, was renamed Krispr from The K Group Public Relations Company.

Edelman also recently appointed Marie Kennedy, a former director of global communications for healthcare company Baxter International, EVP, group head of its Los Angeles corporate practice, and US leader for DJE Science's life sciences group.

Earlier this month, Edelman named David Chamberlin, former SVP and director of issues and crisis management for North America at MSLGroup, to the role of EVP and GM of the firm's Dallas office.

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