NEW YORK — Deirdre Latour is returning to Edelman to lead its New York office, replacing Jen Cohan who will leave the firm next month.

Latour is named president of Edelman New York, overseeing the firm's largest office, numbering 800 people. She takes on one of Edelman's key roles after departing Pearson, where she has been chief corporate affairs officer since 2018. 

Previously, Latour rose to the role of CCO during a 14-year tenure with GE, overseeing communications at a time of immense corporate change and emerging as an advocate of "straightforward responses" and fewer silos. Prior to GE, Latour spent six years with Edelman. 

Cohan, meanwhile, exits Edelman after almost eight years with the firm, which she joined from Golin in 2013. "It is time for a change – especially when there is so much at stake in the world," said Cohan on LinkedIn. "So, I will be taking some time to make personal contributions to areas important to me."

"Deirdre is a change-maker across corporate affairs and brand marketing, having lived the value that an earned mindset can deliver to the C-suite," said Edelman US CEO Russell Dubner, to whom Latour will report. "She understands the primacy of earning trust across all audiences, from consumers to shareholders to lawmakers. And she’ll bring that expertise directly to our clients and colleagues, all the while advancing our commitment to a diverse and equitable workplace."

At a PRovoke conference in 2018, Latour explained how communications had become a vital part of GE's decision-making, reflecting the influence the function should always hold. “I think there’s a realization that reputation is vital to the company’s ability to operate and that reputation can be damaged very easily," she said at the time. "I would say that if you work for an organization that doesn’t understand the value of reputation, go to work somewhere else."

“Now more than ever, agencies that understand how to earn trust among all stakeholders will have an opportunity to make a real difference and succeed," said Latour in today's statement. "Edelman is best positioned to lead the way and I’m thrilled to be joining the team."

Earlier this year, PRovoke revealed that Edelman's New York office had suffered the loss of Samsung's digital marketing remit, worth upwards of $20m. Latour's hire is the latest in a string of senior hires at the firm, including global chief innovation and strategy officer Lee Maicon, global public affairs CEO Kirsty Graham, and global corporate affairs vice chair Dave Samson.