WASHINGTON: Edelman has hired Stephen Kehoe as its global chair of reputation, a newly created role that oversees the corporate and public affairs practices.
The agency is looking to boost collaboration between the two practices, though the appointment does not merge the two groups.
Based in Washington, DC, Kehoe will start in the role on January 2 and report to Ben Boyd, president of practices, sectors, and intellectual property.
Kehoe will serve as a linchpin, bringing together all of the agency’s capabilities on reputation, including employee engagement, b-to-b marketing, executive visibility, issues management, risk mitigation, and others.
"It’s no mystery that Edelman has become more than a PR firm," Boyd said. "The comms strategy we’ve espoused for years speaks to the notion that integrated plays are far more critical to helping clients achieve measurable business objectives."
Referencing Edelman’s Trust Barometer, Boyd said companies are facing increasing pressure to deliver products and services that contribute to the greater good. Kehoe said organizations operating in silos aren’t well-positioned to build their reputations.
"The challenge many big organizations and corporations face is how you step above the individual lanes of government affairs, public policy, and comms in such a way that it stitches together a holistic approach to how they’re perceived at a C-suite level," Kehoe said.
Edelman does not have plans to hire a head of corporate or public affairs. The most recent executives to hold those positions were Kathy Beiser and Stephanie Lvovich, respectively, who exited the agency in March along with the head of business and social purpose, Bob Knott.
Kehoe has joined Edelman from Visa, where he served as SVP and global head of financial inclusion. His tenure at the payments company will end on December 31, he said.
Kehoe spearheaded "Visa’s shared value business model" and initiatives that established its presence in emerging markets facing barriers to financial services as well as government partnerships in China, India, and Egypt.
Kehoe previously served as SVP of global corporate relations and financial inclusion at Visa and as VP of corporate relations for APAC and EMEA, according to his LinkedIn account. Prior to joining Visa in 2010, he was VP of global government affairs and public policy at PepsiCo and VP of government affairs and comms in Europe. Kehoe used to be an MD for the U.K. at APCO Worldwide and a senior MD at Weber Shandwick.
Kehoe said he’s worked with Edelman on projects for more than 20 years.