Diana Marszalek 13 Jan 2023 // 4:40PM GMT
NEW YORK — Weber Shandwick has hired Edelman’s US COO Jim O’Leary to serve as the agency’s new North America CEO as part of a larger restructuring of senior leadership.
O’Leary, who has been with Edelman for 15 years, also chairs Edelman’s corporate affairs practice and is global chair of impact & ESG. He has served as US COO since 2021.
He will be succeeded at Edelman by Dave Samson, the former Chevron public affairs head who joined Edelman’s corporate practice in 2020 as global vice chair.
“I'm very excited to be working with the world-class team and clients at Weber Shandwick,” said O’Leary. “At a time when brands and businesses are grappling with increased uncertainty and complexity – from navigating geopolitical and social issues to mitigating risk and combating misinformation – the need for strategic business and comms counsel is more important than ever.”
O’Leary will be succeeding Joy Farber Kolo, who has been appointed to the newly created role of The Weber Shandwick Collective chief brand officer, as which she is tasked with elevating TWSC’s global approach to earned brand building and integrated communications.
Farber Kolo will drive and differentiate the consumer and technology practices and the firm’s marketing and communications work across all sectors and all Collective brands. She will continue to partner with the firm’s key clients.
Other leadership changes include EMEA CEO Michael Frohlich, who joined Weber Shandwick a year ago after serving as CEO of Ogilvy UK, taking on the added title of chief transformation officer. He has been overseeing the firm's global transformation program as part of his CEO role.
Frohlich's responsibilities will include operationalizing the breadth and diversity of services and expertise across TWSC. Frohlich will focus on select service offerings and continue to evolve the Global Client Experience program to ensure that consultative approaches and transformational ideas and techniques are core to client partnerships.
Weber Shandwick has also promoted DEI leader Judith Harrison to be its first chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, bringing greater focus on and rigor to the firm’s mission to become fully inclusive.
“These moves accelerate our ability to deliver our IP – with agility and at scale – bringing our clients the kind of business-driving, business-impacting approaches they need to navigate a dynamic and complex environment,” said Gail Heimann, CEO of Weber Shandwick. “Last year, we launched our global enterprise brand, The Weber Shandwick Collective (TWSC), the earned-first agency network, with the intention of making our firm even more nimble and responsive to market changes. We committed to continuing to innovate our marketing communications work, continuing to build our strategic communications and consultative expertise and continuing to deliver on the power of The Collective — a dozen specialized brands with Weber Shandwick at the core. With Joy and Michael taking on these new global roles, and Jim at the helm of our NA operation, we advance the promise of what TWSC can deliver at a moment when that’s more important than ever for our clients.”