DeVries CEO Smirnov joins Edelman as consumer MD

NEW YORK: DeVries North America CEO Stephanie Smirnov will step down from her role to join Edelman as MD of consumer marketing, effective July 29.

NEW YORK: DeVries North America CEO Stephanie Smirnov will step down from her role to join Edelman as MD of consumer marketing, effective July 29.

Smirnov, who was promoted from president to DeVries CEO, overseeing all North American operations, last June, will succeed Adrienne Hayes, who left Edelman in May for a role at Motorola Mobility. Smirnov will report to Russell Dubner, president of Edelman New York.

Dubner said Edelman has talked to Smirnov for a long time, and it was “a matter of finding the right opportunity that had the right platform for her.” He added that the firm thought Smirnov was a good fit for the role because she knows how to run a business and can build on momentum in the consumer marketing practice.

“She's not just someone who is observing the change,” he said. “She's someone who really participates in it herself and for her clients, and one of Edelman's hallmarks is to be ‘sleeves-rolled-up,' so she fit our culture.”

Smirnov's responsibilities will include overseeing 140 staffers in Edelman's New York consumer division, as well as evolving the firm's consumer marketing capabilities.

She said the job will give her the opportunity to work on consumer brands on a larger scale. Smirnov added that moving away from a CEO role does not matter to her.

“It's the difference between running the New York office of a mid-size consumer agency and running of the biggest practices in the biggest office for the biggest PR agency in the world, so it's a significant expansion of responsibility,” she explained.

Smirnov, who worked at DeVries for 12 years, held a key role at the agency during its global expansion and rebranding last summer from DeVries Public Relations to DeVries Global. At the time of the expansion, Smirnov was promoted from president to CEO of DeVries' North America operations.

Throughout her tenure at DeVries, she managed the firm's strategic and creative services function, which included emerging media, research and analytics, and branded entertainment. Smirnov also actively counseled clients such as Procter & Gamble's Pantene, Olay, and Tide brands.

Before DeVries, Smirnov held leadership roles at L'Oreal USA and Donna Karan.

James Allman, chairman of DeVries Global, will serve as interim CEO of North America until the firm replaces Smirnov. Laura Pesin, president and COO of North America, will report to him.

The Interpublic Group agency is actively looking for Smirnov's replacement.

“She has been with the agency for a very long time and we wish her well,” he added.

In addition to bringing on Smirnov, Edelman has rehired former Edelman staffer Catherine Franklin to serve as EVP and strategic director of consumer marketing. Franklin, who stepped down from her role as head of consumer in New York at GolinHarris, will oversee Edelman's Church & Dwight account and help with strategy in its consumer marketing division. She is based in New York.

Edelman also appointed Drew Vogelman, previously head of integrated production operations at BBDO, as EVP and director of creative production at Edelman Digital in New York.

Bryan Chadwick, who previously held creative director roles at ad agencies Y&R, DDB, and JWT, also joined Edelman as a creative director in New York. The firm's New York office has more than 750 staffers in its consumer marketing, health communications, corporate, public affairs, financial relations, digital engagement and research, sports entertainment, and event marketing divisions.

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