Edelman today announced the appointment of Will Walden as managing director, public affairs. Walden takes over the role from Gurpreet Brar who is moving into the role of general manager, Brussels.
Most recently Will was the chief advisor and communications director to Foreign Secretary and former Mayor of London Boris Johnson. Will ran Boris’ transition team at the Foreign Office and was his principal political and media advisor during the referendum campaign. Prior to this Will spent four years as the Mayor’s Communications Director, official spokesperson and Director of External Affairs at City Hall where he oversaw communications during the London Olympics and helped shape policy and messaging around Transport, Housing, Business, Education, the Arts, and Policing.
Before working with Johnson, Will spent 19 years in broadcast journalism with ITV, Granada, GMTV, ITN and the BBC as a reporter, producer and editor. He worked on ITNs News At Ten, the BBC’s Nine and Ten o’clock News, and was the corporations chief political producer, deputy US bureau chief, deputy head of UK news and Westminster editor of political news.
Will said of his new role: “Edelman represents the best of public affairs with a portfolio that’s benefitted immensely from Gurpreet’s leadership. I want to build on that success, driving public affairs integration within the company’s wider UK, European and International operations, while helping to shape Edelman’s growth in what are unique and challenging times politically. I can’t wait to get stuck in – working with an immensely talented and innovative team, building on their ideas and – I hope – bringing my own perspective from media and government to their work.”
Will joins Edelman in January 2017, following the promotion of Gurpreet Brar, who moves to General Manager, Brussels. Michael Stewart, European CEO said “As the home of the European political agenda, Brussels remains a high priority market for the region, and Gurpreet brings a raft of experience leading and executing pan-European strategic communications and integrated Public Affairs campaigns across multiple sectors and markets. His deep sector knowledge and expertise, as well as his innovative approach to public policy engagement for organisations such as such as Unilever, Tata Steel and Pfizer will ensure Edelman is at the forefront of helping clients navigate the ever-evolving Brussels legislative agenda”.
Gurpreet said: “I am delighted to be taking up the role as General Manager of a key office in the Edelman network at this challenging time for the future of our continent. I’ve had a fantastic two and a half years restructuring the UK Public Affairs team, building out the offers for purpose advocacy, government affairs and campaigning. I look forward to growing a fully integrated communications agency in the heart of Europe’s political landscape.”
Ed Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Edelman UK & Ireland, said: “A respected political strategist, Will has led a team of 75 people and overseen a £10m annual budget during Boris Johnson’s final term as Mayor, alongside having two decades of political broadcasting under his belt. In Will we have a smart political mind, and a deft tactical operator. With recent hires like Lucy Thomas, the former Deputy Director of Britain Stronger in Europe, and the political strategist James Morris, out of Stan Greenberg’s firm, Will’s addition to the Edelman bench strengthens further our advisory capabilities. I want to also thank a great colleague Gurpreet who has made an enormous contribution in his role in London. I am looking forward to supporting him as he takes his talents to our Brussels office.”