Edelman names Apple, Twitter veteran Natalie Kerris as global tech chair

Kerris is set to join the agency on March 6, reporting to Kym White.

SAN FRANCISCO: Former Apple and Twitter communications executive Natalie Kerris has joined Edelman as global chair of its technology sector.

She will join Edelman on March 6, reporting to Kym White, head of global sectors at the agency. Edelman’s tech sector includes more than 700 comms staffers around the world.

Kerris will counsel the firm’s largest global tech clients while working to grow the practice in emerging markets such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, financial technology, social media, and the sharing economy, the agency said in a statement.

"This is such an exciting time in tech with AI and VR," said Kerris. "I have always believed great marketing and comms begins with the truth. I think right now, in this hyper-political climate around the world, a lot of companies can use [Edelman’s] professional experience and guidance to navigate this brave new world."

The last person to hold the position was Maria Amundson, who left Edelman last April. The firm’s tech leaders from around the world helped to oversee the sector since her departure.

Last year, Kerris had a six-month stint at Twitter as VP of global communications, the company’s top comms position, ending last August. Kerris replaced Gabriel Stricker, who left in mid-2015, as Twitter's top comms executive.

Kerris previously served as senior director of worldwide corporate communications at Apple. She departed the Cupertino, California-based company in April 2015, less than a week after it named Steve Dowling VP of communications. Dowling had been serving as interim VP of comms after longtime Apple communications lead Katie Cotton stepped down the prior year.  

Prior to joining Apple in 2001, Kerris held communications roles at Intershop, Netscape, Claris Corporation, and Frame Technology, according to her LinkedIn account.

Earlier this week, David Brain, Edelman’s president and CEO for Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa, said he will step down on May 9 after 13 years at the firm.

The agency grew 1.7% organically in 2016 to bring its revenues to $875 million. It was the lowest growth rate posted by the firm since 2009, and down from a pace of 7.2% in the prior year. President and CEO Richard Edelman characterized 2016 as a "transition year," saying clients deferred budgets from July to December.

This story was updated on February 24 with quotes from Kerris.

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