NEW YORK: After 16 years, Gail Becker is departing Edelman to pursue an entrepreneurial venture that she said will "most definitely not be PR-related."
Becker, who serves as Edelman’s president of strategic partnerships and global integration, will exit the firm on May 6. Her responsibilities will be divided between CEO Richard Edelman and Kevin King, global chair of Edelman Digital.
"[King] will oversee the partnership aspect of what [Becker has] been doing," Edelman said. "And I'm going to [directly] oversee the United Entertainment Group business."
United Entertainment Group was created as a joint venture in October 2014 among Edelman parent company DJE, United Talent Agency, and Jarrod Moses, who founded UEG in 2007.
When asked why the firm decided to divide Becker’s responsibilities the way it had, Edelman said, "I think a lot of the natural partnerships are going toward digital business and I want to know the business better."
In terms of Becker's next move, she said she has a partner in place and plans are underway to launch the venture by the end of the year. She also said it will not be another PR gig.
"If I wanted to work in PR, I would stay at Edelman," Becker said. "One of the wonderful things about having the chance to say good bye is you hear from all these people around you, who you worked with and hired, and it really reminds you of how wonderful a time it has been."
Becker joined Edelman in 1999 as GM of the Los Angeles office. She later oversaw the firm’s U.S. Western Region, and Edelman Latin America and Canada before being promoted to her current position, which she attained in 2013.
As president of strategic partnerships and global integration, Becker has been responsible for finding agencies around the world to partner with in various fields, such as advertising, experiential, and production, and ensuring alliances are successfully executed.
Edelman said the Los Angeles office became the number one agency in the market under Becker’s leadership and that she tripled the Western region’s revenue.
Four years ago, Becker also helped found the Global Women’s Executive Network, an internal initiative to increase the percentage of women in firm leadership roles to 50%. Since its founding, the percentage of women in leadership roles has increased from 33%-44% to date.
Before Edelman, Becker held a number of senior PR roles, such as VP of communications at Warner Bros. and director of communications for the US Department of Health and Human Services. She also served on the national press staff of then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in 1992.
Michael Berland also recently departed his role as CEO of Edelman Berland, the firm's strategic research and analytics business, which has now reconstituted as Edelman Intelligence under Antoine Harary.