LONDON — Edelman has elevated Ed Williams to EMEA president and CEO, the Holmes Report can reveal, replacing Carol Potter who moves into a new role as global vice chair of brand.

Williams is promoted to the role after serving as Edelman's UK and Ireland CEO since 2011. A spokesperson for the agency confirmed that an "extensive search" to identify Williams' successor as UK chief is now underway. It is understood, furthermore, that the search for Edelman's EMEA CEO role involved external candidates before selecting Williams.

Ad agency veteran Potter moves into her new role after almost three years as EMEA CEO. Her tenure was marked by plenty of transition in the region, including new leadership in the Middle East and Germany and the closure of the firm's Sweden office. Edelman reported EMEA revenue of $188.2m in 2018, a decline of -2.4%.

The UK, however, has been a bright spot for Edelman — doubling in size to become the market's largest PR firm and emerging as one of the agency's primary global hubs for creativity, corporate advisory, legal services, research and financial communications — the latter bolstered by the acquisition of City PR boutique Smithfield.

"With so much talent, creativity and drive in London and Dublin, I have great confidence that the business will continue to go from strength to strength," said Williams. "In my new role leading our businesses in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, I intend to deploy a similar strategy — build a unified and focused team that regardless of national borders can intelligently and diligently serve clients across the region."

Potter joined Edelman in 2015 after nine years with BBDO. In her new role, she remains on Edelman’s global operation committee, partnering with global CCO Judy John, chief client officer Lisa Sepulveda and global chair Amanda Glasgow, who oversees regional brand leads.

“It has been an honour to lead the regional business for the last three years and together with the leadership team in the region to see such profitability and impressive work achieved for our clients," said Potter. "Now is an extraordinary time for brands and their relationships with their customers and stakeholders. With my experience leading global brands, I am delighted to take on this next step, and partner with our fantastic teams around the business to ensure Edelman is at the forefront of ensuring that our clients’ brands are securing trust with all their stakeholders."

Both Potter and Williams will assume their new roles on 1 October from London, and each report to Edelman global COO Matt Harrington. 

Before joining Edelman, Williams led corporate affairs and communications for the BBC and Reuters. Prior to that, he spent five years at Brunswick; before which he had a career as a network television journalist.

"As we embark on the EMEA region’s next chapter from a position of strength, I look forward to seeing the region thrive under the proven leadership of Ed Williams," said Harrington. "The process for searching for the right person for these roles has reinforced the quality and breadth of talent we have at Edelman."