LONDON—Robert Phillips has resigned from his roles as EMEA president and CEO and global chair of public engagement and future strategies, at Edelman. He will leave at the end of 2012.
The announcement comes just two weeks after the firm appointed Phllips to a new global role that was designed to ensure that Edelman remains at the forefront of public relations innovation. That new role was widely interpreted as a reward for the firm’s strong performance in Europe since he took the helm in January of 2011.
Phillips told the Holmes Report that he intends to take six months to a year off to focus on teaching, given his recent appointment as Visiting Professor at Cass Business School, and working on his second book.
He added that he had made no decisions regarding his plans beyond that. "I would never rule out a return to frontline PR or even Edelman," said Phillips. "There's no hidden agenda, I just wanted to stop for a while."
Edelman’s global chief operating officer Matt Harrington told the Holmes Report that the parting is "amicable", and praised Phillips’ contribution to the firm. “We are deeply grateful to Robert for the strides he’s made since joining the Edelman family nine years ago. As UK CEO from 2007 to 2010, Robert recruited many of the industry’s most talented people to Edelman, and in doing so, transformed the business.
“Then, under his leadership as EMEA CEO, the firm opened its doors in Turkey and Switzerland, greatly strengthened operations in Russia and made significant leadership additions in Germany and France. Most impressively, Robert oversaw regional growth of what will be approximately 30 percent in 30 months, during the toughest economy of the past three decades.”
Susan Eastoe has agreed to serve as interim leader for EMEA while Edelman reviews the organization’s leadership needs for the region. Eastoe was named chief operating officer, EMEA, earlier this year.