Aarti Shah 29 May 2014 // 10:43PM GMT
NEW YORK — Weber Shandwick has named new leadership to its conflict shop Creation in response to Microsoft and several other accounts now being housed within the sub-brand.
The head of Weber’s EMEA tech practice George Coleman has taken over as global president of Creation and regional heads have been added in Asia-Pacific, EMEA and North America. Because of client conflicts, all of Weber’s work with Microsoft has moved to Creation, in addition to new accounts like Ubisoft and Tata Communications.
Weber’s 18-year relationship with Microsoft now includes PR in many international markets including pan-EMEA and pan-Asia, including AOR assignments in markets like Russia and consumer and commercial work in China. In the US, Weber works on Microsoft’s partner solutions and public sector PR. All of this work now resides within Creation.
This move is indicative of the way that PR firms are navigating the inevitably long list of conflicts for behemoth clients like Microsoft. Creation parallels Edelman’s recent launch of Assembly — a Microsoft-only conflict shop. Unlike Edelman’s venture, Creation currently does and will continue to take on clients outside of Microsoft.
Also having been founded in 2011, Creation pre-exists the Microsoft shift and in its earliest days was primarily a production and design shop with a large focus on the UK and Europe. Before today’s change, many of Creation’s leaders — including Weber’s global head of tech Tim Fry and president of North American tech Bradford Williams — wore two hats. Now Fry and Williams have transitioned off Creation and focus mostly on their Weber roles. Meanwhile, Coleman’s team will be dedicated to Creation business.
“Part of Creation’s proposition is we have a core Creation team with visual storytellers, technologists and digital people and the like,” said Weber Shandwick president Gail Heimann. “But we can also tap into Weber Shandwick or [its holding company] IPG.”
Coleman, who reports into Heimann, manages a leadership team that includes Cecilia Liang leading Creation’s Asia-Pac offering; Kate Steele in EMEA; and Aaron Pearson as the North America tech practice lead.
There are no offices dedicated purely to Creation as of now, but its teams will share office space with Weber in Seattle, London, Beijing, Singapore, San Francisco, Boston, Minneapolis, Brussels and Seoul. Heimann declined to say how many people work in Creation currently.
In addition to Creation winning highly-contested pitches like Tata Communications and Ubisoft (which was formerly handled by Cohn & Wolfe), the sub-brand also works with Starwood Hotels in China, Rightside domain registry and online education company DreamBox Learning. It also retains its own branding and identity apart from Weber. However, like several other IPG specialty PR shops — including Axis, DNA and Powell Tate — it will be anchored by Weber.