It was with great sadness that PRWeek learned last month of the death of Daniel Edelman, who passed away at age 92 after a long battle with illness.
Edelman was a genuine pioneer of the PR industry and founded an eponymous firm that has grown to be the largest player in the global communications sector, with annual billings well in excess of $600 million and still growing fast.
He had not been an active member of Edelman since he handed over the reins of his firm to son Richard in 1997. But his presence was still all-encompassing and Richard regularly told stories of the weekly, even daily, catch-ups with his father at which the details of the business were definitely still on the agenda.
These observations capture in a nutshell many of the characteristics of both Edelman the man and Edelman the company. The groundbreaking PR firm was founded on strong foundations of family, hard work, independence, attention to detail, creativity, and ethics.
It is a foundation that continues to live on strongly under Richard's current leadership, and in his time in charge he has multiplied the size of the firm and vastly expanded its global footprint. The Edelman name lives on and will likely live long into the future via Richard's children, Dan's grandchildren.
During his time in charge, Dan could have sold his agency numerous times, but he always resisted. Indeed, on the sole occasion he relinquished any control to a third party, an escape clause was cleverly written into the contract that allowed him to buy back complete control at a later date.
PR is a competitive industry, and there is no love lost between rival agencies, but even their fiercest of rivals acknowledge that there can be no doubt the Edelman name, and the agency it produced, is a worthy flagship for the communications industry as a whole - and it will endure under the guidance of Dan Edelman's progeny.
He created something unique, and the shape of the agency in 2013 and its impact on the development of the PR industry in the last 60 years is a fitting legacy.