Matthew Harrington has been named chief operating officer at Edelman, a new role at the world’s largest public relations firm. Harrington, who has been president, CEO of Edelman in the U.S., now adds responsibility for the company’s other operations in Europe/Middle East/Africa, Asia-Pacific and Canada/Latin America.
Harrington has spent 28 years with the company, nearly his entire career. He reports to the firm’s president, CEO Richard Edelman, who said he will continue to remain active running the company, directly managing global practices and clients, diversified businesses and finance operations.
During his time at Edelman, Harrington became a specialist in corporate positioning and reputation management, with a focus on crisis communications, mergers and acquisitions, and initial public offerings. Among the companies he has worked with are General Electric, Samsung, Starbucks and Charles Schwab. Prior to running Edelman’s U.S. operations, Harrington was president of the firm’s Eastern region, with oversight of New York and Atlanta, and before that he served as president of Edelman’s Western region.
In his new role, effective July 1, Harrington will also serve as chairman of Edelman’s Conflict Management Committee and oversee the company’s human resources, legal and IT functions.
In conjunction with Harrington’s promotion, Edelman announced two other management changes. Mark Hass replaces Harrington as president, CEO of Edelman in the U.S. Hass joined Edelman two years ago as president of the China region and, during that time, the firm’s business doubled there. Previously he was global CEO of Publicis Groupe’s MS&L for five years.
Thomas Mattia, a former global head of communications for Coca-Cola, was named chair of Edelman China, replacing Hass. Most recently Mattia served as chief communications officer at Yale University.
Richard Edelman underscored the company’s growth over the past decade as the impetus in creating the new COO role. Edelman has tripled in size over the past decade and rung up $614 million in fees in 2011, contributing in part to Adweek’s decision to name Edelman PR Agency of the Year. The company now has offices in 60 cities, Edelman notes, about double the number a decade ago, and has 4,000 employees.
Over the last couple of years, Edelman has expanded globally through its partnership with the Tata Group in India, and through the acquisitions of Significa in Brazil and digital agencies in the U.K. and Berlin.