NEW YORK: Edelman has appointed Gail Becker, chair of Canada, Latin America, and the US Western region, to serve as president of strategic partnerships and global integration, effective immediately.
In the newly created position, Becker, who has worked at the agency since 1999, is reporting to president and CEO Richard Edelman. She is tasked with finding agencies around the world to partner with in various fields, such as advertising, experiential, and production, and ensuring alliances are successfully executed. Becker will remain based in Los Angeles.
The decision to create Becker's new role is part of the agency's “Hamburg Principles,” which is a guide for the next five years, said Edelman.
In addition to strategic partnerships, the guidelines include focusing on creative work that can compete with advertising and digital agencies, research and insights, new relationships with media, and digital efforts.
“We've had a great relationship with an ad agency in India named Rediffusion,” explained Edelman. “We have a $7 million client in the Tata Group, which we got because we have a partnership with Rediffusion. So we want to partner with local ad agencies, entertainment companies for content production, and events companies in various parts of the world.”
Edelman added that Glenn Engler, who was recently appointed global chief of staff and director of corporate strategy at the firm, will help to spearhead the Hamburg Principles.
Becker said she took the role because she's “really intrigued and excited by the future impact of partnerships” on the business. She added that she's excited about taking on a global position.
In terms of partnerships, Becker said the US will be an initial key focus, as well as Latin America, Canada, and the Western region of the US since she already sees opportunities to make formal partnerships with some companies in those areas.
She added that she's really looking to “grow and expand” Matter, as well as Edelman's entertainment and experiential work in general.
Alan VanderMolen, vice chairman of DJE Holdings, will take on the additional duties of managing Canada and Latin America for Edelman. He will report to global COO Matthew Harrington in those responsibilities, while continuing to report to Edelman in his vice chairman role.
VanderMolen will continue to oversee Edelman's eight global practices, including consumer marketing, digital health, corporate, and public affairs, as well as the firm's intellectual property and sister agency Zeno Group.
For Latin America, VanderMolen said he will look to build on the success that Becker and her team have had in the region so far.
He added that Edelman is doing great innovative work in Canada that shows “the convergence of mainstream PR and digital,” and he will continue to work on that.
“I look forward to Canada really being a good model for us in other developed markets where maybe we want to gain some market share,” he explained. “I think we can export some key learnings from there, as well as continue what is really tremendous growth in what has been tough economic times.”
Edelman US COO Julianna Richter will oversee the firm's Western region. She has managed the sector since Curt Kundred, former president of Edelman's US Western region, stepped down in March.
Edelman representatives were not immediately available for comment on the moves.
Becker joined Edelman in 1999 as GM of the Los Angeles office and later took on the role of Western region president.
Before Edelman, Becker held a number of senior PR roles, such as VP of communications at Warner Bros. and director of communications for the US Department of Health and Human Services. She also served on the national press staff of then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in 1992.
VanderMolen has worked at Edelman since 2002, when he joined the firm as president of Asia-Pacific.This article was updated on December 10 with more information from Edelman.