Aarti Shah 11 Aug 2016 // 1:00PM GMT
SAN FRANCISCO — Edelman’s Bay Area head Wayne Hickey is returning to Weber Shandwick in a newly-created technology role that cuts across all sectors in North America.
Hickey boomerangs back to Weber Shandwick in early September as EVP/senior technology strategist in a role that spans across the firm’s North America client portfolio. The role takes into account that technology — to some degree — drives nearly every sector of the economy.
“Wayne will partner with teams across all practices around this idea that every company relies on technology as one of its drivers,” said Sara Gavin, president of North America who Hickey reports to. She added, Hickey will work with a core group of six to eight clients that will rotate periodically.
"Companies across all sectors are wrestling with technology enablement – how it fits into their brand, how it solves customer challenges, and how to communicate their unique story," Hickey said. Weber Shandwick has recently experimented with the way its practices are structured, for instance, in San Francisco the firm combined its technology and corporate teams to reflect the integrated assignments for clients such as VMware and other clients.
Hickey joined Edelman in 2008 as EVP on the agency’s Microsoft business, then in 2014 oversaw the creation of Assembly — a conflict-shop Edelman created to house all of its Microsoft business before taking over the agency’s Bay Area operation. Prior to Edelman, he led Weber Shandwick’s digital entertainment practice for six years.
On having left Edelman last week, Hickey said “there’s never a good time to leave a place that you have respect and admiration for.” He is the latest in a series of high-profile departures from Edelman, in particular among its Western region leadership.
An Edelman spokesperson said, “in the interim, Western Regional president, Kristine Boyden, will serve as head of the Bay Area offices. We have been conducting a search for his replacement and will be making an announcement in the coming weeks."
On the West Coast where Hickey is based, Luca Penati runs Weber Shandwick’s San Francisco/Silicon Valley operation and Patricia Cooper runs Sacramento. Bradford Williams has run the global tech practice since 2015.