Rock Ventures hires Edelman's Aaron Walker as chief comms officer

He was SVP of digital crisis at Edelman.

Aaron Walker
Aaron Walker

DETROIT: Rock Ventures, the holding company for businessman Dan Gilbert's portfolio of companies, investments and real estate, has hired Aaron Walker as chief communications officer.

Starting in his role earlier this week, Walker said in a LinkedIn post he’ll work with Jay Farner, CEO of Quicken Loans. The mortgage lending company is one of the centerpieces of Rock Ventures.

Walker was formerly SVP of digital crisis in Edelman’s Washington, DC, office, a role he served in for more than three years, according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to that, he was VP at Dezenhall Resources, a DC-based public affairs and crisis specialist firm.

"We can confirm [Walker] has left Edelman," said Daniel Weber, Edelman’s GM Of corporate affairs and advisory in Washington, DC, in a statement. "We appreciate his many contributions to our crisis and risk practice and wish him all the best in his next endeavor."

Walker also worked as a senior manager at R3 Consulting, according to a bio on PR Summit DC.

A Rock Ventures representative wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Gilbert, whose extensive and diverse portfolio includes a majority ownership in Cleveland Cavaliers, is currently recovering from a stroke he suffered several months ago. Shortly after Gilbert was hospitalized, Farner reaffirmed Rock Ventures’ top lieutenants will continue operating the company business as usual.

An investigation by The Detroit Free Press questioned the financial feasibility of Gilbert’s promises to transform downtown Detroit into an urban mecca through his real estate company, Bedrock, after the city provided him hundreds of millions in tax incentives.

Another Gilbert-owned company, Jack Entertainment, is set to close its Detroit office after it sold Greektown Casino-Hotel for $1 billion to Penn National Gaming and VICI Properties for the property and operational rights.

Edelman’s DC office landed in controversy earlier this year after winning business with The Geo Group, a government contractor that runs immigration detention centers. The agency eventually walked away from the contract after facing pressure from its own employees.

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