Edelman swaps CFOs and restructures health group

NEW YORK: Last week proved an eventful one at Edelman, as the agency switched CFOs and announced plans to restructure its healthcare practice.

NEW YORK: Last week proved an eventful one at Edelman, as the agency switched CFOs and announced plans to restructure its healthcare practice.

Following the surprise departure of Nancy Petrillo, Edelman appointed Meredith Wise Mendes as its new chief financial officer. She joins as EVP/finance and CFO, a position governing the operations of both Edelman PR Worldwide and sister company PR21.

Petrillo exited Edelman around three weeks ago following a decision to change the agency's accounting structure. She had joined the firm from credit ratings agency Dun & Bradstreet and had been with Edelman for two years.

Richard Edelman, company president and CEO, said two factors contributed to the move. 'We had an accountancy system change which could have gone better. There is always a fudge factor when there is a change.' Edelman also disagreed with a number of Petrillo's staff hires.

During her Edelman tenure, Petrillo had overseen the introduction of Proamics, a system intended to allow managers to continually update financial information online.

Mendes joins from Hartford Computer Corporations, a hardware firm, and was previously VP of public banking with First Chicago Capital Markets.

She will be based out of Edelman's Chicago office.

As for the restructuring, Edelman's New York president Tom Buckmaster made the announcement from the firm's annual general manager meeting in Toronto last week.

He also confirmed the launch of a healthcare Internet practice, which will represent clients such as ePhysician, Healthmagic, Intellihealth and Skila.

'We have to take consumer healthcare and converge it with corporate,' said Buck-master. 'Clients are looking for broader corporate solutions to corporate problems.' The practice will be headed by EVP Fern Lazar, who joined the agency last year.

The new practice will offer clients expertise in consumer, business-to-business and corporate branding programs, and will boast media relations and technology analyst outreach capabilities as well.

Buckmaster is looking at replicating the structure in practice areas such as technology, where the company is seeing a real growth in IPO business.

The Toronto general manager summit, which focused on new media, was attended by around 85 senior executives from around the world.

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