Edwards to lead global comms at IBM under Iwata

NEW YORK: IBM has promoted digital strategist Ben Edwards to the newly created position of VP of global communications and digital marketing, where he will oversee communications under marcomms chief Jon Iwata.

NEW YORK: IBM has promoted digital strategist Ben Edwards to the newly created position of VP of global communications and digital marketing, where he will oversee communications under marcomms chief Jon Iwata.

Tuesday is his first day in the position. Edwards is reporting to Iwata, IBM's SVP of marketing and communications, the company said in a statement. A team of communications staffers within the marcomms department will report to Edwards, giving Iwata fewer direct reports.

Iwata will continue to lead the marketing, communications, and corporate citizenship group and serve as chairman of IBM's strategy team. Iwata was named to the No. 1 spot on PRWeek's Power List in 2012. He has made frequent appearances near the top of the Power List in past years.

IBM's “Smarter Planet” initiative was cited last summer as having influenced the Arthur W. Page Society's new model for corporate communicators. Iwata was named chairman of the Page Society beginning January 1, 2012, succeeding Bill Margaritis, former SVP of global communications and IR at FedEx.

Edwards was previously IBM's VP of digital strategy and development, leading those areas and design within the marcomms unit for the past two years. In that role, he partnered with the chief information officer last year to found the IBM Design Lab, a hub for designers, information architects, digital strategists, and web developers.

Prior to rejoining IBM in 2010, Edwards was EVP of The Economist Group and publisher of The Economist online for three years, responsible for leading digital strategy. Before that, he served as director of new media communications at IBM.

Edwards began his career as a journalist and spent nearly 10 years at The Economist in roles including finance reporter in London, Tokyo bureau chief, and American business editor.

Neither Iwata nor Edwards were immediately available for comment. A spokesperson for the company declined comment on the move.

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