CHICAGO: John Kiker, United Airlines' VP of worldwide communications, is leaving the troubled carrier to become the EVP and managing director of Edelman's New York corporate and public affairs business unit.
The new post is the first time corporate and public affairs will report to the same person in New York, said Matthew Harrington, president of Edelman New York.
Kiker expects to start September 16. He'd been talking to several agencies.
Edelman courted him for four months before he accepted the position.
"I'm really looking forward to returning to the agency world, Kiker said. He worked with Porter Novelli from 1989 to 1993, when he joined United.
United has no immediate plans to replace him, and will wait until it names a new CEO before naming a communications head, Kiker said. "They definitely face challenges, Kiker said of United. "Operating without a CEO is difficult."
United's media director left about nine months ago. An outside PR firm staffer has been filling that post on an acting basis, Kiker said.
Edelman's corporate and public affairs unit works with clients such as UPS, Kraft, and Samsung, as well as on projects like the lower Manhattan public information campaign.
Harrington expects Kiker, given his experience with employee issues at United, to work on several employee communications projects with clients when he starts.