NEW YORK — Edelman has promoted industry veteran Dave Samson to US COO, replacing Jim O’Leary who is departing the firm to lead Weber Shandwick North America as CEO.

The former Chevron public affairs head, who joined Edelman’s corporate practice in 2020 as global vice chair, will oversee operations of Edelman’s largest global region.

Samson will report to CEO Lisa Osborne Ross, who has been working with O'Leary since the fall to transition Samson into the role.

"It was just a move that I wanted to make," Ross said, adding the leadership switch is in keeping with her affinity for "embracing change."

"Dave is so good for this because he’s even and he’s balanced and he’s kind, which matters to me. He is a veteran in the best sort of way," she said.

At Edelman, Samson has served in a variety of leadership roles, including interim New York office lead, interim Bay Area office lead, and interim chair of the Asia-Pacific region.

He previously spent 16 years leading public affairs for Chevron, where was known for taking a feisty approach to protecting Chevron’s reputation, particularly around the most high-profile threats to the company’s image.

Prior to Chevron, Samson served as head of global communications for Levi Strauss. A past chairman of the Page Society, Samson has also led international communications at both IBM and Oracle and was a partner and managing director at Ketchum Public Relations over the course of a 30-year career.

"I don't like to stand still. I like to stay at the forefront of the sector," Samson said. "Together (with Ross) we can make that happen."

O'Leary, whose appointment as Weber Shandwick North America CEO was also announced Friday, has been in the COO role since 2021.

He  will be succeeding Joy Farber Kolo, who has been appointed to the newly created role of The Weber Shandwick Collective chief brand officer as part of leadership restructuring.