Huntsworth has hired Edelman's Pete Pedersen as global CEO of Grayling.
Pedersen has spent nearly 20 years at Edelman, where he was a leading member of the executive team on key accounts such as Microsoft and Xbox before becoming global chair of the Edelman technology practice.
He will replace Michael Murphy, who said last July that he would leave Grayling after three years to “build a portfolio career.”
“[Pedersen] is a seasoned operator with long experience of winning and handling global accounts, and he has built a global technology practice that over the last few years has averaged double-digit growth,” said Huntsworth CEO Peter Chadlington. “I'm confident that [Pederson's] client, technology, and management experience will be a great fit with Grayling as it takes the next step towards becoming a global PR business with social media and technology at its core.”
The company also stated that “rigorous” cost savings will deliver a double-digit rise in profitability in its 2012 earnings. The owner of Citigate, Grayling, and Red said in a pre-close trading statement that revenues were hit in 2012, but the group will report a significant rise in profit.
“Group revenues in 2012 were, in common with other companies in the marketing services sector, adversely affected by the economic conditions in the UK and Europe, which account for about 60% of group revenues, and by the downturn in financial and corporate activity in the UK financial markets,” the company said in a statement.
However, the company added in the statement that “rigorous cost control” would deliver a double-digit improvement in profitability in 2012 compared with the previous year and that the board expected to meet current management expectations.
Huntsworth said that its net debt position has improved ahead of management expectations, with the balance at the end of the year expected to be about $105 million (£67 million).
“I am pleased that despite the difficult economy we will deliver strong profit growth and tight cost control this year,” said Sally Withey, group COO and group finance director. “With some early signs of more positive economic conditions in some of our markets, we are focusing on growing revenues, winning more global accounts and leveraging our expertise and leadership in digital communications into more of our work.”
The group will announce its 2012 preliminary results on April 25.
Maria Amundson, Edelman's Silicon Valley MD, will lead the agency's global technology practice with EMEA head of technology Jonathan Hargreaves and Sanjay Nair, Asia-Pacific technology practice director, until a replacement is named.
This story originally appeared on the website of PRWeek UK, the sister title of PRWeek at Haymarket Media.
This story was updated on February 6 with information about Edelman's replacement for Pederson.