LONDON — Edelman has named food & beverage head Megan Van Someren global chair of its brand practice.

Van Someren, who joined Edelman last September from JWT, will oversee roughly 1,000 people, while retaining her role as global and EMEA food & beverage chief. She will be based in London and report to Katie Burke, chief strategy officer and global head of practices and sectors.

Van Someren is Edelman’s first permanent global brand practice chair since Mark Renshaw stepped down in 2018. US practice head Amanda Glasgow has been the acting global lead since that time.

CEO Richard Edelman said the move is part of a larger push to strengthen the brand practice, “which is the basis of what Edelman was founded on,” while bringing it in line with his strategy of making earned creative the centerpiece of the firm’s work. The agency uses the term to refer to creative content that is designed to be shareable, move quickly and spark movements. “We have to sharpen our offer,” he said.

Before joining Edelman as global chair and EMEA lead of its food and beverage offer, Van Someren served as JWT’s global strategy director and led brand strategy for Special K and Nespresso.

She also founded Canteen Consulting, a “food futures” consultancy inside JWT, to help food brands grow and innovate, where she led projects around insights and data, evolving food culture, innovation, consumer immersion, storytelling and content partnerships, as well a developing a start-up model to work with young brands, entrepreneurs and social enterprises.

Van Someren was one of a string of senior advertising hires that Edelman has made in recent years, as the world's largest PR firm attempts to tap into larger marketing budgets. A year ago, the firm hired Leo Burnett’s Judy John as global chief creative officer, marking its highest-profile creative hire from the advertising industry at the time.  

Previous appointments included Renshaw from Leo Burnett, Jesse Lin from McCann, Rupen Desai from Lowe and Carol Potter from BBDO. Like Renshaw, Desai has since left the firm.