Bob Knott returns to Edelman to lead its business and social purpose practice

He succeeds Carol Cone, who left the position three months ago to start a collaborative consultancy.

WASHINGTON: Bob Knott is rejoining Edelman as global chair of its business and social purpose practice, which he helped to establish in 2010.

Knott will step into the role on August 3, and will report to Ben Boyd, president of practices, sectors, and offerings at Edelman. He will be based in the firm’s Washington, DC, office and oversee 150 staffers globally.

He will succeed Carol Cone, who left the position three months ago to develop Carol Cone On Purpose, a consultancy focused on helping clients build purpose into their core business strategies. Her firm is slated to launch in early September.

Boyd noted that Edelman is "grateful" for what Cone did for the firm and its clients. However, he explained that the practice is taking on a more integrated approach.

Knott is charged with making purpose a key offering across the entire agency. As part of his remit, he will scale Edelman’s business and social purpose practice not as a vertical, but as a cross-practice offering, covering everything from consumer and corporate communications, to issues management and public affairs

 "If we have a health client who wants a purpose platform aimed at a consumer audience, what we would bring together is the sector which needs help and our business and social purpose practice, coupled with our consumer practice know-how in terms of activation across that target audience," said Boyd. "So, that type of multidimensional campaign drive and strategy architecture is one of the fundamental reasons behind our excitement for [Knott’s] return."

Knott told PRWeek that his first order of business will be spending time with colleagues to gain their perspective on the market.

"Social purpose in London might be quite different than social purpose in San Francisco," he said. "So, my immediate goal is to find out what we do [in this space], what we can do better, and what market opportunities exist so I can continue to ensure we do the best work that can be done on the part of our clients."

He is joining Edelman after a short stint at MWW, where he served as senior MD for market leadership and issues management. Knott departed MWW in mid-June, after only five months in the role.

MWW declined to comment on whether it will replace him in the role.

Before that, he was senior MD and corporate communications leader for the Americas in FTI Consulting’s strategic communications unit. Knott, who started at FTI in January 2012, also worked with other groups at the firm to develop its corporate communications services.

Prior to FTI, Knott worked at Edelman for 13 years, where he served as global practice chairman and global client relationship manager.

Edelman's business and social purpose practice has seen a few changes recently. Aside from Cone's departure, Henk Campher left his role as SVP of the practice and MD of sustainability, earlier this month. He has joined Allison+Partners as EVP of social impact.

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