Edelman PR Worldwide has hired a former Greenpeace PR chief as managing director of its global NGO and stakeholder strategies practice.
Jonathan Wootliff is set to join the agency's Brussels office in the new year.
His appointment coincides with the publication of a report by Edelman subsidiary Strategy One, claiming that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have earned a greater level of trust among the general public than respected global corporations such as Ford and Microsoft.
The report surveyed 500 'well-educated and media attentive' individuals in each of five countries: the US, UK, France, Germany and Australia.
It found that NGOs are trusted as a credible information source by three times as many people as believe the statements made by major private sector companies.
NGOs such as Greenpeace, Amnesty International and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) rated as more effective at getting their message across than major multinationals. Only 11 per cent of those interviewed said governments or companies were 'making the world a better place'.
Wootliff joins Edelman from Kreab Communications in Brussels, where he has been managing director for a year. Prior to that, he was director of communications at Greenpeace International in Amsterdam for four years.
He also spent five years running his own agency in Brussels.
Wootliff started his career with more than a decade in a variety of corporate and public affairs consultancy roles at Hill & Knowlton.
He said he welcomed the research, as both a spur to corporate action on global issues, and as evidence that NGOs are now significant players in the global marketplace.
The report found that in times of corporate crisis, twice as many respondents would turn to NGOs as an impartial source of information than would look to the company involved or to the news media.
Among UK respondents, the research showed that WWF and Greenpeace had far higher favourability ratings - at 65 and 50 per cent respectively - than established corporations such as British Airways, on only 29 per cent.
- Edelman has also appointed Liz Fraser as European HR director. Based in London but reporting to European president Rosanna D'Antona, Fraser's brief is to handle staff development and training across the continent.
A former Hill & Knowlton divisional MD and founder of Tenet PR, Fraser is a double PRWeek award-winner.