Arun Sudhaman 30 Jul 2018 // 1:12AM GMT
NEW YORK — Kevin King has abruptly resigned from Edelman, following a 14-year run during which he oversaw the agency's growth into the PR industry's largest digital player.
As global chair of Edelman Digital, King led one of the key drivers behind Edelman's rise to become the world's biggest PR agency. Now numbering around 1,000 people, Edelman Digital is worth approximately 20% of the firm's $900m in revenue, after expanding rapidly from a few million dollars a decade ago to at least $200m today.
It is understood that King tendered his resignation last week, although he declined to comment when contacted by the Holmes Report. His last day at the agency was Friday, marking a sudden departure for one of the agency's top executives, who reported directly to CEO Richard Edelman.
In a statement, an Edelman spokesperson claimed that the agency does not comment on personnel matters. “We can confirm Kevin King no longer works at Edelman, and we wish him well in his next chapter."
King is likely to attract plenty of interest from rival agencies given his work at Edelman, which began with social media and, more recently, extended into such areas as paid media, influencer marketing and digital analytics.
However, Edelman Digital's rapid expansion — a reflection of the agency's entrepreneurial culture — attracted its share of issues too. As long ago as 2013, concerns were being raised about Edelman Digital's standalone status; asked about a 'digital divide' at the time, Richard Edelman reiterated his belief that the remainder of the business needed to become more digital savvy, a view that had P&L implications for Edelman Digital's structure across the globe.
More recently, sources familiar with the situation also point to ongoing questions regarding the agency's investment priorities. Famously, Edelman has hired more than 600 creatives and planners over the last three years, in a bid to better compete with agencies across the paid and earned media spectrum.