SAN FRANCISCO — Edelman has made its US digital lead Cricket Wardein head of its Western region, signaling a move towards more integration between the agency’s digital and traditional services.
Edelman’s Western region represents $116 million of its $747 million global revenue and employs 600 people across offices in Silicon Valley, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland and Sacramento.
Among the core clients that Edelman manages from the region are Starbucks, eBay, Symantec, Gap, Hewlett-Packard, Mattel, Adobe and Nestle. The Western region president post has been vacant since Curt Kundred left in April 2013.
Wardein steps into the role after leading Edelman’s $100 million US digital practice for slightly more than a year, growing the practice about 20%. Before taking on the US digital role, Wardein was credited with growing the Western region’s digital revenue threefold since joining the firm in 2009. Edelman plans to promote a new US digital lead from within the company in coming weeks.
The move also signals an evolution for the entire agency that Edelman's newly-appointed US CEO Russell Dubner describes as “PR-minded first and increasingly social by design.” The firm has also moved its creative services and planning teams from the digital practice to sit across the agency as a whole.
“This has been evolving for the past few months,” Dubner said. “The creative directors came out of digital but now sit across the agency because the need to show — not just tell — your ideas are not unique to the social channels.”
Dubner also said Wardein appointment signals more diverse career opportunities for Edelman’s digital and creative talent.
“It shows that you can start your career in the digital practice and end up in another part of the business or in a geographic role,” Dubner said. “We’re going to see more examples of this as we have more digital talent who understand the PR mindset.”
The shuffling also shifts the reporting structure for Kristine Boyden who was named chief operating officer of the Western region in May, reporting into US COO Julianna Richter. Boyden now reports into Wardein but will continue to focus on operationalizing strategy and work alongside other geographic COOs.
“Cricket’s job is to oversee the Western region regarding the quality of client work, growing the business and driving the culture,” said Dubner. “Having Cricket, who comes from the digital side, at the helm working alongside Kristine, who is more of a traditional PR person, gives us a good talent combination within the geographic leadership.”
Wardein will be based from Los Angeles, meanwhile Boyden will remain in Edelman’s Bay Area offices. Edelman began its new fiscal year on July 1.