NEW YORK – Edelman, the world‘s largest public relations firm, has named Matthew J. Harrington chief operating officer (COO), effective July 1. In the newly created position, Harrington, head of the agency‘s U.S. operation, will oversee the firm‘s four geographies – the United States, Europe/Middle East/Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Canada/Latin America. He will serve as chairman of the firm‘s Conflict Management Committee and will take over management of Edelman‘s human resources, legal, and IT functions. Harrington will report to Richard Edelman, president and CEO, who will continue to directly manage the firm‘s global practices and clients, diversified businesses, and finance operations. This new structure is intended to help more efficiently manage the firm‘s future expansion and its unprecedented growth over the last several years.
“The size of our firm has more than tripled over the last ten years, and with 60 offices across the globe, the time couldn‘t be more right to appoint a global COO to help ensure we‘re well-positioned globally for continued growth and dimensionalization,” said Edelman. “Having successfully led our largest operation and run several of our most complicated and important accounts, Matt is uniquely qualified to step in to this new role. Not only is Matt an exemplary business leader, but he also is a sophisticated practitioner with deep corporate and reputation management experience.”
Harrington assumes his new role at a time of considerable global growth for Edelman. In 2011, Edelman‘s global revenue topped $614 million, up from $531 million in 2010. Edelman, which has more than 4,000 employees worldwide, increased its global footprint over the last two years through its partnership with the Tata Group in India, and the acquisitions of Significa in Brazil and digital agencies in the UK and Berlin.
“I‘m honored by the opportunity to further develop Edelman’s global aspirations in partnership with Richard and our leadership team,” said Harrington. “Our continued success depends on drawing on the extraordinary talents of our people to benefit our clients and their goal to deepen stakeholder engagement. As COO, my focus will be to ensure Edelman has the right operational structures in place so that our clients and business continue to thrive globally and our culture fosters collaboration and rewarding career opportunities.”
Harrington, who started his career at Edelman 28 years ago, is a specialist in corporate positioning and reputation management, with expertise in crisis communications, merger and acquisition activity, and initial public offerings. He counsels numerous companies including General Electric, Samsung, Starbucks, and Charles Schwab Inc. In 2005, Harrington led Edelman‘s firm-wide initiative to introduce a code of conduct, a first among PR firms. Harrington was awarded the Silver Anvil for Crisis Communications from the Public Relations Society of America for his work on Odwalla. This program also received the Silver Anvil for “Best Communications Program for 1996″ and the International Public Relations Association‘s Golden Award.
Prior to running Edelman U.S., Harrington was president of the Eastern region overseeing Edelman‘s New York and Atlanta offices. And before that he served as president of the Western region. Harrington is a graduate of Denison University, where he serves on the Board of Trustees. He is a member of the Public Relations Society of America and is a board member of the World Food Program USA and the Classic Stage Company.
Mark Hass Appointed President and CEO, Edelman U.S.
Replacing Harrington as president and CEO of Edelman U.S. is Mark Hass, formerly president of Edelman China.
―Mark is an industry pioneer who was one of the first to truly ‗get‘ digital and the need for a more fully dimensionalized public relations offering,‖ said Edelman. ―A focused business leader, Mark has doubled our China business in the past two years. With his global experience as CEO of MS&L Worldwide for five years, strong business acumen and focus on client service, I couldn‘t be more pleased to have Mark coming back to the U.S. to manage our largest geography.
Edelman‘s U.S. business grew to $383 million in 2011, up from $349 million the year prior. In the U.S., Edelman added 170 employees in 2011 and currently has a staff of more than 2,100.
Hass, who also becomes a member of Edelman‘s nine-person operating committee, joined Edelman as president of China in February 2010. He is responsible for the agency‘s business operations on the mainland, which includes five offices in three cities, with more than 200 employees working for Edelman and Pegasus, the agency‘s two brands in China. Throughout his public relations career Hass has been a leader in integrating digital into the communications activities of large organizations. He served as the global CEO of Publicis Groupe‘s MS&L Worldwide from 2005 to 2009, overseeing 51 offices and more than 1,200 employees and counseling top executives at companies such as General Motors, Procter & Gamble, and United Airlines. He joined MS&L Worldwide in 2002 when Publicis acquired his first agency, Hass Associates, a Michigan-based digital communications specialty firm. Before entering the public relations field, Hass worked as a reporter and editor in Washington, Miami and Detroit, where his staff won the Pulitzer Prize. He is a member of the Arthur Page Society and a trustee of the Institute for Public Relations.
“Working in a fast-moving, and complex market such as China for the past two years has been an incredible experience,‖ said Hass. “I‘m excited and energized by the opportunity now to work closely with Richard, Matt, and the leadership team in the U.S. I‘m also looking forward to bringing additional global perspective to the U.S. business and to helping build on the U.S. team‘s enormous recent success.”
Thomas Mattia, Former Global Head of Communications for Coke, Named Chair of Edelman China
Stepping in as chair of Edelman China is Thomas G. Mattia, a former Cola-Cola Company senior executive, who most recently served as chief communications officer at Yale University. Mattia will report directly to David Brain, president and CEO, Asia Pacific.
“I‘m pleased to have Tom join our stellar team in China as we continue to grow in the market,” said Edelman. “Tom‘s CSR and corporate experience, coupled with his market knowledge and expertise will truly be an asset for our firm.”
Edelman entered China in 1993. Since then it has grown the business from one office to five (Edelman Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and Pegasus Beijing and Shanghai) with a staff of 210 and affiliates in major second-tier cities including Chengdu, Dalian, and Wuhan. In 2007, Edelman expanded its presence in the region via a merger with Pegasus, which was then one of the top 10 local PR Agencies in China, according to the China International Public Relations Association. Over the past two years, Edelman has nearly doubled its revenue in the market from almost $9 million to over $17 million.
Mattia, who retired from Coca-Cola as SVP of global Public Affairs and Communications in March 2009, has served as the senior communications officer of two Fortune 100 companies, directly counseled four CEOs and managed reputational issues for four major global brands — Coca-Cola, Ford, IBM, and EDS. After joining IBM in 1980, he helped launch the original IBM PC and managed communications for the company‘s divestiture of operations in South Africa. After a five-year stint on the agency side at Hill & Knowlton in Hong Kong, where he managed the Asia Pacific region, Mattia joined the Ford Motor Company in 1995 as director of a newly created international communications department. There he also served as director of North American Public Affairs and vice president of Lincoln Mercury.
“I have always been an admirer of Edelman and the highly innovative and industry-leading work it produces for its clients,” said Mattia. “I‘m delighted by the opportunity and excited about returning to China and APAC and contributing to the growth of Edelman China.”