Brain to head Edelman's European region

The double act of Colin Byrne and David Brain as joint CEOs of Weber Shandwick came to an end this week with news that Brain is to leave for a European role at rival firm Edelman.

The pair have been running the UK's largest PR consultancy for over two years, following the merger into WS of BSMG Worldwide, which Brain previously ran.

Brain's new role as president and CEO of Edelman's European region is the recreated role previously held by Rosanna D'Antona. She was made redundant by the then international president Alison Canning, who left the firm two months ago (PRWeek, 18 July). Brain will report to international CEO Richard Edelman in New York, and will manage 350 people across 10 countries with fee income of close to £30m.

Byrne, who was CEO of the WS public affairs practice before the 2001 merger will now assume sole control of the firm. Although WS is prevented by the Sarbanes-Oxley act from revealing financial data about itself, it is believed this remit covers over 350 people, bringing in fee income of £27m.

Although he will now be sole CEO, reporting to WS global CEO Harris Diamond, he has promoted consumer practice head Sally Ward to be his deputy, though she will maintain control of the consumer practice.

The pairing of Byrne and Brain was positioned at the time of the 2001 merger as a balance between Byrne's public affairs background and Brain's consumer marketing experience. Byrne is a former chief press officer for the Labour party while Brain spent two years in the marcoms practice at Burson-Marsteller before working at BSMG.

Brain, who will be based with Edelman's UK arm on London's Haymarket, will work closely with Ireland MD Hugh Gillanders, who has acted as Europe-wide CEO on an interim basis since the departure of Canning. She quit following plans to shrink her global non-US role into a Europe-only one.

Gillanders will also retain his wider role as chief operating officer for Europe - with specific responsibility for the smaller markets in the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Sweden - and will report to Brain.

Brain said, 'There are only four truly global agencies – WS, Hill & Knowlton, Burson-Marsteller and Edelman. The plan is to combine strong organic growth with targeted acquisitions.'

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

Department store John Lewis is to use its 150th anniversary this year to talk about its history, which "not enough people know about", according to director of communications Peter Cross.

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

The man who helped Barack Obama win the 2008 and 2012 US presidential elections is to work for Labour along with members of his team.

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Pay-TV giant Sky has added Fever PR to its agency line-up for a wide-ranging brief covering products and services.

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford has been sent home for Easter and will reconvene on Tuesday for further deliberations about its verdicts on 11 charges of indecent assault.

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

The Home Office has tasked Munro & Forster (M&F) with supporting its campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) as part of a wider retained brief.