ATLANTA: Edelman has merged its Southwest and Southeast operations and tapped Steve Behm to lead the new division, effective immediately.
As president of Edelman South, Behm will oversee 300 people across offices in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Houston, and Orlando. He will be based in Atlanta and report to US CEO Russell Dubner.
"The Southwest and Southeast have been a great source of growth for [Edelman] in the past year," said US COO Julianna Richter. "Bringing the Southeast and Southwest together in a more meaningful and strategically aligned way makes sense from an efficiency standpoint."
Behm was previously president of Edelman’s Southeast operation, reporting to Richter. By March 1 the firm will decide whether to replace Behm’s former role or to fold those responsibilities into his new position, he explained.
Helen Vollmer, regional president for Edelman Southwest, will transition into the role of chair, Edelman South. Reporting to Richter, she will focus on client engagement, strategic partnerships, and counseling companies from the energy, health, and education sectors across the region.
Her previous duties will be brought under Behm, Richter said. The number of staffers managed by Vollmer in her new role is to be determined.
Edelman South’s strategy is to focus on talent and ensure there is a clear path of continued development for staffers in the region, Behm told PRWeek.
"The new structure will help the firm scale more quickly and aid clients with the best experts across the firm," he said. "That is going to be what drives decision making as we look to integrate across the five different offices."
Behm has worked at Edelman since 2006 as a VP in Atlanta and later as head of the Southeast region’s corporate practice. He assumed leadership of Edelman Southeast in 2012.
Prior to Edelman, Behm was a VP at Dittus Communications, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Vollmer led the Southwest operations since 2010 when Edelman acquired her eponymous firm. Before that, she was CEO of Vollmer PR for 29 years.