Ogilvy US PR, influence lead Michele Anderson to join Edelman

Calling it a "core capability," Ogilvy CEO John Seifert told staff he'll release plans for the agency's PR and influence capability this month.

Michele Anderson is trading Ogilvy for Edelman Chicago.
Michele Anderson is trading Ogilvy for Edelman Chicago.

CHICAGO: Ogilvy’s U.S. leader for PR and influence, Michele Anderson, is exiting the firm this month to join Edelman in Chicago. 

Anderson told Ogilvy worldwide CEO John Seifert of her plans to leave the WPP firm in December and has worked with him to develop a transition plan, Seifert told U.S. staff on Tuesday in a memo obtained by PRWeek. 

Seifert has been working with a "core team" of staffers to plan the next phase of public relations and influencer services at the firm in the U.S., he said, adding that he plans to make that public by the end of this month. 

"Public relations and influence is a core capability of the Ogilvy promise to make brands matter," Seifert said, in the memo. "We are committed to strengthening this critical specialist capability in supporting Ogilvy OS and our network strategy and operating model as ‘One Ogilvy.’"

Seifert praised Anderson for playing "a valuable role in our next chapter transformation since joining Ogilvy in 2014," noting she supported the development of the specialist capability. 

Ogilvy promoted Anderson, previously MD of its Chicago office, to U.S. PR and influence lead in February 2017, charged with working alongside former Ogilvy PR global CEO Stuart Smith as the company integrated all of its agencies under one P&L. Smith left the firm in early 2019 to join Vegolutionary Foods, the maker of gluten-free pizza brand Caulipower, as chief marketing and growth officer, and was not replaced as Ogilvy PR CEO. 

Anderson is set to become the latest significant hire at Edelman this year, which has added Megan Van Someren as global chair of brand and Pfizer’s Kristy Graham as global CEO of public affairs. Edelman said this week that it saw 2.1% global revenue growth in 2019, without taking into effect the impact of currency fluctuation, to $892 million. 

Before joining Ogilvy, Anderson was director of Ketchum Atlanta. 

Ogilvy posted PR revenue of $387.5 million in 2018, up 3% from the year prior, according to PRWeek’s Agency Business Report

Anderson could not be immediately reached for comment. An Edelman representative was not immediately available for comment. 

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