Canning joined Edelman two years ago with a plan to refresh national managements and boost the proportion of the firm ‘s non-US revenues from 30 per cent to 50.
She is to leave the agency next week and serve out her six month notice on gardening leave. Her exit has been prompted by a change in strategic direction for the company, with group CEO Richard Edelman saying: ‘We now recognise that the best way of boosting the amount of non-US business we get is by exporting it from the US. In that respect it is a change of strategy.’
Canning said: ‘I’m a change merchant and you can’t be a change merchant unless you are prepared to accept change yourself.
Despite this, Canning refused to accept the key change Edelman attempted to foist on her, of taking on the lesser European role when the global post was abolished. ‘That would have been a demotion… we have always had robust discussions about the decisions I’ve made. I now feel I have created as much value as I can at this company.’
The nuts and bolts part of her role as acting head of Europe – which she took on in addition to her global responsibilities when she axed Milan-based incumbent Rosanna d’Antona - will be taken by Edelman Ireland general manager Hugh Gillanders.
The company has also hired headhunters to find a new European CEO, to whom all that region’s country bosses will now report.
With the international president role abolished, each of the five regions – US, Canada, Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific – will report to the group management in New York. Before this change, the four non-US divisions reported to Canning.