Edelman at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, 2011
|Born||Richard Winston Edelman
June 15, 1954
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Residence||New York City, New York, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
|Occupation||President and CEO of Edelman|
|Spouse(s)||Rosalind Anne Walrath (m. 1986)|
|Parents||Daniel J. Edelman
Richard Winston Edelman (born June 15, 1954) is the President & Chief Executive Officer of the public relations company Edelman, a position he has held since September 1996.
Richard was born on June 15, 1954 and was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy. He married Rosalind Anne Walrath on May 18, 1986 at the Harvard Club of New York. His wife is the daughter of the then, creative director of the advertising agency JWT and she was a vice president at the investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods when they wed. He has three daughters. In 2008 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer but had successful surgery.
His two siblings, John and Renee, are also executives at Edelman.
Richard Edelman joined the Edelman firm in 1978 after receiving his MBA from Harvard, where he had also studied as an undergraduate. He had intended to take a job in marketing at Playtex, but his father persuaded him to join the family company. He was an executive at Edelman by 1981 and in 1983, he was appointed president of Edelman's New York Office. He was appointed president of the company in 1985. His father remained as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). At that time, the company's income was only $14.2 million. He pledged to keep the company independent at a time when many other PR companies were being bought by advertising agencies. He later became the regional manager of Europe before being promoted to CEO in September 1996, a post that he still holds today.
Edelman is a regular attendee at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, having attended 9 times by 2007. In January 2012, he presented to leaders in world governments and chief executives, and his main message to them was that, based on a survey by his company, the public do not trust governments and business executives anymore - they are the least trusted of any group.
Edelman was one of the first PR practitioners to identify the importance of social media and create a specialist practice. He coined the phrase circle of cross influence to describe how people are increasingly influenced by other people, the internet, new media and cable TV, rather than mainstream media. He has written a blog since 2004, and is one of the first CEOs to do so. In 2007 PR Week described his blog as one of the better-known PR blogs, in part due to some of his posts being controversial.
Edelman sits on the board of directors of the Ad Council, the Children's Aid Society, the Atlantic Council, the International Business Leaders Forum, the Gettysburg National Battlefield Foundation and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. He is also a member of the World Economic Forum, the Arthur Page Society, the PR Seminar and a director of the Jerusalem Foundation. In 2009, Edelman was appointed executive jury chair of a new award recognizing the creative use of unpaid publicity, given at the Clio Awards.
Following the Federal Communications Commission warning that broadcasters should disclose the origin of at least some video news releases Edelman pragmatically conceded that disclosing government VNR’s "in some way" was reasonable. However, Edelman drew the line at labeling corporate VNR’s, which comprises the bulk of those produced. He told PR Week "I do not believe in the need for government to put a black box on any VNR that's produced for a company".
Shortly after the mortgage lending crisis, Richard Edelman said that financial institutions have a PR problem. Richard claimed that financial institutions rank lowest on the company's trust barometer, because they don't explain the how and why of their actions to the public. Edelman CEO Richard Edelman spends about an hour per day voicing his views on the company blog that he started to set an example for Edelman clients.
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