LONDON: Edelman has appointed Megan Van Someren, the agency’s global chair of food and beverage, as its global chair of brand.
The appointment is effective immediately. Van Someren, who was hired by Edelman last October, is keeping her title and duties as global chair of food and beverage. She is based in London and reporting to Katie Burke, Edelman’s chief strategy officer and global head of practices and sectors.
"We have brought in so many new abilities lately. We have Yannis [Kotziagkiaouridis] for data, Judy [John] for creative and we’ve had strong digital over the last five or six years. I need a person who understands all the pieces," said global CEO Richard Edelman.
Agency leaders like Kotziagkiaouridis and John will not report to Van Someren, Edelman said, but she will coordinate their efforts to support core PR work for clients.
Edelman described Van Someren as a "conductor," managing the efforts of the agency’s offerings across verticals like food and beverage, health and wellness, consumer packaged goods and mobile technology.
Van Someren said she was shocked when Edelman talked to her about the role just before Christmas but added that taking it makes sense because of the overlap between her new duties and her position as global food and beverage chair.
"For businesses to be successful in food and beverage, where I spent much of my career growing and unleashing the potential of brands, they have to be successful in brand efforts," she said. "I think there is massive synergy when you get that right, and it impacts not only food and beverage but all other sectors."
Van Someren said her main responsibilities in the new role are "not as much about blowing things up as it is about optimizing what Edelman is already doing in its brand work." To do that, she said she will look to codify the firm’s successes and also "scale what we’re good at and identify where the gaps are."
"I want to be sure we are taking advantage of the DNA of Edelman’s earned trust work and reimagining for brands the challenges that they are facing today," she said.
Previously, Edelman filled the global chair of brand role with senior leaders on a rotating basis. The most recent was Amanda Glasgow, who had the job in the U.S. and globally for the last year. Glasgow is now leading the brand practice in U.S.
Van Someren joined Edelman last year after leaving J. Walter Thompson in London, where she worked as global strategy director, managing strategy for Special K and Nespresso. Before that, she was EVP and global strategy director and SVP and group planning director at Leo Burnett.
Van Someren’s hire is not the only senior person the firm has brought on this year. Edelman hired former SoFi comms leader Jim Prosser this month as MD of corporate affairs and advisory services for its U.S. Western region. It also named Pfizer’s Kirsty Graham as CEO of its global public affairs practice, a newly created role leading what Richard Edelman called "a stand-alone firm."
The agency also lost a senior staffer this month when self-driving startup Cruise hired Kristine Boyden, president of Edelman’s Western region, as its first chief communications officer. She is set to start in the newly created role at the end of February.