As demand for marketing communications services shows signs of recovery in Australia, Edelman announced a significant investment in strengthening its senior management team.
The investments signal a move that will give the firm greater depth and provide a catalyst to scale its local operations and drive long-term growth.
As of June 1, Michelle Hutton will join Edelman Australia as Chief Executive Officer. Ms Hutton joins the company from Hill & Knowlton, where she was Chief Executive, Australasia. She also led the brand marketing communication practice for the company across Asia Pacific. She has had a distinguished, 15-year career at Hill & Knowlton, which culminated in H&K Australia being named PR Week’s PR Agency of the Year for Asia-Pacific in 2007. Under Ms Hutton’s six-year leadership, Hill & Knowlton has tripled in size in Australia, becoming one of the country’s leading public relations firms.
During her 20 years in the marketing and public relations industry, Ms Hutton has worked with many leading brands, including the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Canon, Sony Ericsson, The Coca-Cola Company, Kellogg, Ford and Unilever. She is a Governor of AmCham and sits on the NSW State Council for CEDA (NSW).
In addition, Alexandra Kelly will join Edelman Sydney as General Manager on June 1. Ms Kelly joins the company from Weber Shandwick, where she was Head of Client Services, Australia. A consumer marketing specialist, Ms Kelly has more than 12 years experience as a communications strategist for some of the world’s leading brands and corporations. Under her stewardship, the Sydney consumer marketing team became the fastest growing practice group in Asia-Pacific for the company. In 2008/9, the consumer team won an unprecedented five awards at national and international level.
In her role, Ms Kelly guides strategy for both b2b and b2c communications across an array of leading clients including Olympus Imaging Australia, Nestle Cereal Partners, Nestle confectionary & corporate, CSR Australia, Singapore Airlines, Unilever, Sanofi-Aventis, and Johnson & Johnson Pacific.
Edelman’s President, Asia-Pacific, Alan VanderMolen, said the move to attract two of Australia’s leading public relations professionals is the first step in the company’s bid to progressively move from being an international firm with offices in Australia to becoming a distinctly Australian firm with a strong global network.
“We believe the time is now to deepen leadership and to innovate in this market. There is a vibrant and changing media landscape, an active civil society encouraging companies and brands to engage with their stakeholders and a tremendous talent pool. We believe the first stage toward innovation is to add depth and talent to our leadership team. We’re very excited that Michelle and Alexandra have agreed to join our already strong team here,” he said.
“This is the first phase of a broader plan of initiatives that Edelman will be rolling out in Australia. We have significant breadth across the world and across the region – now we’re after much greater depth, critical mass and increased market relevance.
“As the world’s largest independent public relations firm, we have the power to make significant investment initiatives in the public relations industry, at a time when many of our competitors are still under the weight of the global financial crisis,” Mr. VanderMolen said.
Edelman’s current Managing Director for Australia, Amanda Little, will take on a new role to build and lead a new national Sustainability Practice designed to help the firm grow its offer in the Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability spaces. Amanda has been involved in sustainability communications for sometime as Founder of sustainability education not for profit, One at a Time Foundation.
Melbourne-based Asia-Pacific Corporate Practice head, David McCarthy, and Melbourne General Manager, Rhys Ryan, will continue in their current positions.
Ms Hutton said she was excited by the challenge of leading the Australian arm of the firm that has dominated the last decade in the public relations industry.
“Edelman is an acknowledged leader in our industry in many countries around the world. I am looking forward to working with the leadership team to build a unique and strong local offer in this market,” Ms Hutton said.
Edelman is the world’s largest independent PR firm with 3,400 people in 54 offices around the world. Edelman was recently named Agency of the Decade (Holmes Report, 2009) Consultancy of the Year, Asia-Pacific (Holmes Report, 2009), Agency of the Year (PRWeek, 2009), Large Agency of the Year (PRWeek, 2007-2009) and top rated firm in Asia-Pacific (Media Magazine, 2009).