WASHINGTON, DC—Edelman has concluded a lengthy search to identify the new head of its global corporate practice, hiring former Hilton Worldwide communications head Kathryn Beiser to the key global role.
Beiser takes on a position that has remained vacant since Ben Boyd was promoted to lead Edelman's global practices last August. She leaves Hilton, where she was EVP of corporate communications, after two years.
Beiser, who is based in Washington DC, reports to Boyd and is charged with leading Edelman’s global network of corporate communications consultants, overseeing client-focused innovation and driving thought leadership.
Edelman was one of the PR firms Beiser worked with while at Hilton, and she told the Holmes Report that she was "always impressed by the level of intellectual curiosity and strategic discipline that they brought to their client gigs."
Her departure comes after Hilton's IPO in late 2013. "Not only did we successfully forge the largest hospitality IPO in history, but we also created a strong corporate responsibility foundation that will serve the company well in the future," Beiser told the Holmes Report. "After the IPO, I needed a new opportunity."
Boyd noted that Edelman conducted a comprehensive search for his successor, ultimately reviewing a shortlist of candidates from various markets across the world.
"There is a recognition that the world of CCO and CMO is in constant flux," he said. "We have to help clients, in terms of counsel, stay one step ahead. If that means bridging two disconnected functions, then that’s what we need to do. Understanding the business challenges is paramount."
Beiser, who worked at Discover Financial Services for six years before joining Hilton, said her in-house experience had highlighted the importance of "business insight" from PR firms.
"One of the things that CCOs really need is somebody to help them peer around the corner," she explained. "The CCO wants to be a trusted advisor within the organisation. They need concrete suggestions, that are pithy and to the point, because there’s so many demands on a CCO’s time."
Prior to Discover, Beiser worked agency side at Burson-Marsteller, Golin and H+K Strategies. She will also aim to rethink what Boyd called the "offer articulation" for Edelman's global corporate practice.
"It is a completely different world from where I started 20 years ago," said Boyd. "Are we overly navel-gazing, or are we articulating solutions which are concise and business-oriented and compelling?"