Digital chief departs as Edelman UK plans to integrate function across business

Matt Groves has resigned as MD of Edelman UK's digital division less than a year after being appointed - with the firm telling PRWeek it will scrap the standalone team and integrate digital capabilities across the business.

Edelman, once again confirmed by PRWeek's Global Agency Business Report as the world's biggest PR agency, appointed Groves in May last year. He joined after little more than a year as operations director at creative agency Mother London.

His imminent departure – he is currently working out his notice – comes amid major changes planned at Edelman UK, also Britain’s biggest earning PR agency, over the coming months.

The existing standalone digital team will be scrapped and replaced with specialists at the heart of the business, according to Ed Williams, the agency’s UK chief executive. "For our firm, this is a really important moment for us to do something transformational and make digital feel like something that’s integrated into all of our work," he told PRWeek.

He said Groves had not been asked to resign. "He’s been quite an important change agent within the firm advocating digital being much more integrated into everything that we do rather than sitting as a separate business, so he’s been really important in that," said Williams.

"Now that we feel it’s the right time to do it, he obviously feels now is the right time to move on and do other stuff. He’s moved around in his career if you look at his background. He’s very peripatetic, and I’m not surprised; he goes with great friendship here," he added.

Asked whether Groves will return to advertising, Williams commented: "I don’t know actually, he’s playing his cards close to his chest."

He explained how Edelman UK will be changing the way it works, with "specialist digital capabilities at the centre of the business" and "a core group of senior leads who will be advising our clients on all aspects of digital strategy."

The actual work of creating content for clients and implementing strategy and tactics will be integrated into the client teams, while the profit and loss account for the digital team will be removed, allowing it to work across the agency as a whole.

Williams also told PRWeek to "expect some really interesting hires" in coming months.

Last month, the firm hired multi-Cannes-Lions award winner Andre Matarazzo as executive creative director in Europe.

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