Aarti Shah 19 Apr 2016 // 4:14AM GMT
SAN FRANCISCO — Edelman’s global tech chair Maria Amundson is leaving the firm next month, the latest high profile departure, notably from executives based in the Western region.
Amundson was named Edelman’s global tech chair in 2014 after three years running its Silicon Valley operation. Amundson joined Edelman in 2006 when the agency bought Silicon Valley powerhouse A&R Partners — which she had been with since 1990. Amundson cited personal reasons — including joining her husband on his sabbatical — for her departure.
Edelman’s president of practices and sectors Ben Boyd told the Holmes Report, “we’re pleased with the overall performance of the technology. But the definition of technology is different than it was five years ago — we’re playing more team sports across fin-tech, food & beverage and health.” Among Edelman’s five sectors, technology is in “the top three.”
Amundson’s departure means Edelman’s tech head has turned over three times in less than five years. Pete Pedersen left in 2013 to become CEO of Grayling, then Joe Paluska held the position for a short stint, followed by Amundson’s tenure. Tech clients include thenewly-won PayPal, eBay, Samsung, Microsoft, Juniper, Symantec, AMD, Rackspace, among others.
The job description being circulated for the tech sector chair calls for a candidate with “exceptional creative and strategic ability to counsel CMOs, CCOs and Edelman teams” and “deep knowledge of traditional, social and digital media and content development.” It asks for candidates who have demonstrated leadership managing internal cross-practice, cross-functional teams and experience both agency and client-side.
Amundson’s departure is the second notable exit from Edelman this week, as the Los Angeles-based Gail Becker announced her resignation on Monday. Other recent departures include Los Angeles GM James Williams, US digital head Cricket Wardein (also based in Los Angeles) and the Bay Area-based Michael Brito.
Last year, Edelman — the world's largest PR firm reported organic growth of 7.2% for the 2015 calendar year, taking its global revenue to $855m. In the US, Edelman's fees grew 7.1%, helping it cross the $500m barrier — perhaps the first PR firm to do so.