Samson will report to U.S. CEO Lisa Osborne Ross, taking responsibility for the operations of Edelman’s largest region as O'Leary leaves Edelman to join Weber Shandwick as North America CEO.
Samson will also serve as interim chair of Edelman’s U.S. corporate affairs practice. O’Leary was most recently Edelman’s U.S. COO, corporate affairs practice chair and global chair of impact and ESG. Today marks his last day at Edelman.
"My goals going forward are to be a part of a really strong leadership team under [Osborne Ross'] leadership and working across that team to drive differentiation in the marketplace for Edelman to continue to deliver on our strengths as a firm," said Samson.
He added that attracted him to Edelman and what keeps him at the agency is its culture, scale, reach and its independence.
"Our independence allows us to invest in clients, people and intellectual property like the Trust Barometer in ways no other firm can," Samson said.
Samson has been Edelman’s global vice chairman of corporate affairs since he joined the agency in 2020. At Edelman, he has also served in a variety of leadership roles, including interim New York office lead, interim Bay Area office lead and interim chair of the Asia-Pacific region.
Samson will also continue in his role as Edelman's global vice chairman of corporate affairs.
"His work in the global corporate space and as a leader to the corporate community inside and outside of Edelman made him, among other things, super attractive to me," said Osborne Ross.
Before that, he was head of public affairs for Chevron, where he worked for 16 years. Samson managed the energy company’s corporate and digital communications, corporate marketing and branding, research and analytics and social media. His role included overseeing the company’s reaction to activist investors, who have hounded Chevron to reduce carbon emissions.
Prior to Chevron, Samson served as head of global communications for Levi Strauss & Co. A past chairman of the Page Society, Samson has also led international communications at both IBM and Oracle and was a partner and MD at Ketchum over the course of a 30-year career.
Edelman’s U.S. region generated $613 million in revenue in 2022, representing 15.5% year over year growth, the firm said in a statement.
This story was updated on January 13 with quotes from Samson and Osborne Ross.