Aarti Shah 03 Sep 2014 // 7:20PM GMT
SAN FRANCISCO — Longtime Edelman veteran Maria Amundson is stepping up as global head of technology after Joe Paluska resigned from the role earlier this summer.
Amundson, who has been head of Edelman’s 110-person Silicon Valley office since 2011, takes helm of global technology at Edelman after CEO Richard Edelman said “the tech practice went backwards” over the last year with losses like HP’s corporate work.
Edelman also recently moved technology from being a practice area to a sector, describing practices as “what we do” and sectors as “who we do things for.” The idea is for leads to work across practices and sectors more easily to fit client needs.
“Many technology companies don’t self-identify as tech companies anymore,” Amundson said. “Technology used to be siloed but now it’s spread across other industries — like consumer, food and health. Many of these clients also need sophisticated corporate, consumer, digital and public affairs work. They need integrated teams.”
Edelman’s European managing director Jonathan Hargreaves also steps into the newly-created role of global vice chair with a focus on markets outside of the US, in particular Europe, India and China. Edelman works with clients like Tencent in China and Tata Communications in India that are looking to build global brands from Asia into the US.
“There’s also fast-growing startups in major cities around the world, especially London and Berlin. I’ll also continue to work with US-based startups to localize in global markets,” Hargreaves said.
Edelman’s global technology team works across 27 countries with 440 people.
Amundson joined Edelman in 2006 when the agency bought Silicon Valley powerhouse A&R Partners — which she had been with since 1990. Edelman’s chief operating officer for the Western Region Kristine Boyden will assume the role of GM of the Silicon Valley office in the interim while a search for a replacement is underway. Edelman clients in Silicon Valley include Adobe Systems, Bloomberg, Samsung, Juniper Networks, Citi Ventures and more.
Hargreaves reports in Amundson, who reports to Kym White, global director of sectors and global chair of Edelman’s health sector. Amundson will be based in Silicon Valley and Hargreaves in London.
Amundson’s appointment comes after a tumultuous few months for agency tech leads. In recent months H+K's US tech head Hadley Wilkins parted ways with the agency after a series of sector losses; Ketchum named Susan Butenhoff as its new head of global tech; Burson-Marsteller’s US head of tech Sabrina Guttman moved to Hewlett-Packard; Edelman’s global tech head Joe Paluska resigned; Weber Shandwick’s global tech head Tim Fry parted ways with the firm; and Ogilvy PR’s former global head of tech Luca Penati (now with Weber Shandwick) stepped down.