NEW YORK — Edelman has hired Joe Paluska as head of its global tech practice, a role left vacant since Pete Pedersen joined Grayling as CEO in March.

Paluska, who will join Edelman on May 27, left his role as CCO at electric car player Better Place earlier this year as part of the company’s restructuring efforts. He plans, however, to apply learnings from the five-year stint to his new role at Edelman overseeing the nearly 500-person tech team.

“What I emphasized [during the interview process] was, let’s redefine tech more broadly. For the past five years, I’ve been in automotive, sustainability and energy -- all three sectors have embraced technology,” Paluska said. “Those are among the first three areas that we’re going after.” 

Paluska will report into Alan VanderMolen, vice chairman of DJE Holdings and president/CEO of Edelman’s global practices. Under Paluska, VanderMolen plans to expand the lead tech role to be an advisor on how technology can be applied for market disintermediation across sectors. Thought-leadership and further integrating consumer acumen into the tech practice are also high on the list.

“When we changed our mandate for the role, Joe lucked out,” said VanderMolen. “He can run the sector and he knows how to use disintermediary technology for our clients' benefit.”

Edelman’s tech practice services clients like Samsung, SAP and Symantec and accounts for 15 percent of the firm's overall revenues, second only to the consumer marketing practice. While Paluska will be based in the Bay Area, he plans to spend considerable time visiting emerging tech hubs, including Amsterdam and Melbourne.

Prior to joining Better Place, Paluska led Hill + Knowlton’s global tech practice.

“For me, it’ll be interesting having been on the client side -- advising our CEO, doing public affairs and crisis work and bringing that all to bear,” he said. “I’m a thinker and a doer, I like talking to journalists and I like big issues above all else.”

During the interim, Maria Amundson, GM of Edelman’s Silicon Valley office, led the global tech practice. With Paluska’s arrival, she will return to her previous duties.