LONDON — Edelman has concluded its search for a new European CEO by naming Carol Potter to the role.

Potter will relocate to London from Dubai, where she joined Edelman last year as vice-chairman of Edelman's operations across Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa. She takes on the new position as president/CEO of Europe and the CIS on 1 February 2017.

Potter succeeds Michael Stewart, who has moved into a new role as global vice-chair of the world's largest PR firm, after three years in charge of its second-largest region. She will report to global COO Matt Harrington and joins the firm's global executive committee.

The appointment comes after Edelman retained Spencer Stuart to oversee the search for Stewart's successor. It is understood that the firm considered several external candidates, including executives from outside the public relations industry.

"We embark on the region’s next chapter from a position of strength thanks to Michael’s efforts to reshape our European operation, posting growth of 38% during this period," said Harrington. "The process of searching for the right person for this role has reinforced to me the quality and breadth of talent we have at Edelman, and we’re pleased that Carol is embarking on her next adventure with us in Europe."

Potter fits Edelman's desire to find a candidate from a 'non-traditional' background. She has spent much of her career at advertising agencies, including nine years as president and CEO of BBDO Greater China. "Our competitive set has changed so dramatically in the last few years," Harrington told the Holmes Report during the search.

Under Stewart, Edelman's European operations saw substantial change. The firm acquired a number of businesses, including French powerhouse Agence Elan, Sweden's Deportivo, Smithfield in the UK and German firm Ergo. Stewart also shut down Edelman's branded operations in Central and Eastern Europe — namely Russia, Turkey and Poland — and overhauled the regional leadership team

Edelman's European revenues grew by 6.3% on an organic basis to $157m in 2015, with around half of the revenue coming from its UK operation.

Before joining BBDO, Potter was on the worldwide executive committee of JWT as chair of the global business council and concurrently responsible for the global Unilever account with a team of 400 people across 20 markets. Prior to that she served as global brand director for De Beers and has also worked as a director of Kellogg’s in the UK and Japan.

At Edelman Europe, Potter joins a leadership team that includes COO Michelle Hutton and CFO Ana Burke.