LONDON--Edelman has named McKinsey's Michael Stewart as Europe CEO, filling a high-profile role that has been vacant since the dramatic departure of Robert  Phillips last year.

Stewart leaves McKinsey & Company after 12 years with the management consultancy, including almost a decade in his current role as partner and global communications director, where he built the firm's first in-house comms operation across 50 countries.

He joins Edelman in late July, reporting to global COO Matt Harrington and overseeing Edelman's 17 offices across Europe and the CIS, which together account for around $130m in revenues.


Phillips resigned his position as Edelman EMEA CEO last year, shortly after taking on an additional global role. Weeks later, the Holmes Report revealed that the agency had decided to remove the Middle East and Africa from Phillips' mandate and move them to Asia-Pacific, under the leadership of regional CEO David Brain.

Harrington told the Holmes Report that Stewart's international experience, particularly in markets such as Germany, France and Russia, where Edelman has new leadership, will be particularly helpful.

He also noted that the hire of a senior McKinsey executive did not necessarily indicate that Edelman was trying to move towards more of a management consulting approach.

"It’s more consistent with trying to consistently hire indivudals with varied backgrounds who can bring different perspectives on the comms discipline to our clients and to the way we operate," said Harrington. "He has a very strong strategic counsel orientation in the corporate space, with a really strong mix of digital savvy and sustainability. I think that makes him quite interesting and perhaps unique.” 

Susan Eastoe, who has been serving as interim CEO since Phillips' departure, will revert to her role as European COO upon Stewart's arrival.

Like his predecessor, Stewart brings a particular interest in the interaction of business with society, according to his Influence 100 profile. Before McKinsey, he spent 15 years as an executive with international institutions focused on these areas, including the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum, the UN Global Compact, and The Centre for Our Common Future. 

During his career, Stewart has held executive positions in Brussels, Geneva, London, New York, Rio de Janeiro, and Singapore.

"Michael brings a wealth of experience to his new role, combining his global perspective on the CEO agenda and the forces-at-work in the economy, his deep professional expertise as a communications strategist, and his special track record of values-based leadership both at McKinsey and in his previous roles," said McKinsey global MD Dominic Barton.