Daniel J. Edelman names VanderMolen vice chair

NEW YORK: Daniel J. Edelman Inc. has named Alan VanderMolen vice chairman, effective immediately, as it moves to become a PR-centric agency holding company.

NEW YORK: Daniel J. Edelman Inc. has named Alan VanderMolen vice chairman, effective immediately, as it moves to become a PR-centric agency holding company.

In the newly created role, VanderMolen will continue to report to Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman and chairman of Daniel J. Edelman, and will maintain his current position at the agency. He will also be responsible for Daniel J. Edelman shops StrategyOne, Ruth, and Matter, as well as the global expansion of Edelman sister agency Zeno Group.

VanderMolen previously served as president and CEO of global practices and the diversified insights business at Edelman. Previously, VanderMolen was the agency's Asia-Pacific president. From 1988 to 2001, he worked in various roles at Burson-Marsteller.

Edelman said his goal is to make Daniel J. Edelman a holding company focused on PR, contrasting with rivals that are centered on advertising.

“We're going to say PR is our core, and around that we want to build research, experiential, entertainment, and some paid, and we think we can be the centerpiece of that on the PR side because all of the holding companies at the moment are focused on advertising,” he said. “With the coalescence of the brand and corporate reputation, the fact is what we do is more central to the thinking of a CEO and a CMO than advertising.”

Edelman added that he is structuring the holding company to enable significant growth in the next decade.

“We're now over $600 million, and we're the first PR firm to be that size, so we need to think about how we're going to get to a billion,” he added. “I'm not trying to be overconfident, but I have to structure the company in a way to accommodate another big move over the next eight years.”

Edelman reported global revenue of $575.1 million in the 2010-11 fiscal year, up 18% compared with the previous year. Organic growth, excluding currency fluctuations and acquisitions, in the financial year July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011, was 15%. The agency saw 14% growth in the US, climbing from $367.2 million.

VanderMolen will also be responsible for adding other associated businesses to Daniel J. Edelman.

“In the immediate term, we'll be looking into some media-buying capabilities, either organically or otherwise, but the short term priority for us is in the research space and related to expanding Zeno's global footprint,” said VanderMolen.

Edelman has made numerous high-level executive moves since the beginning of the year. It will promote US CEO Matt Harrington to global COO, a newly created role at the firm, on July 1. It named Edelman China president and former MS&L Worldwide CEO Mark Hass to replace him.

Edelman also promoted Kym White from global vice chair of its health practice to global chair, succeeding Nancy Turett, who founded the global health practice in 2000. Turett, who has worked at the firm for 23 years, took on the role of chief strategist for health and society.

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