Edelman adds health, crisis execs

The agency has added two new sector leaders to its Calgary and Toronto offices.

Edelman Canada has added new senior-level hires to its health and crisis and risk practices.

John Larsen has been appointed EVP, national practice lead for Crisis & Risk, while Michael Murphy is now SVP, national sector lead for Health at the agency. Larsen, who will begin work in early August, will be based in Calgary, while Murphy has joined the Toronto office, effective immediately.

Murphy is replacing Scott Evans, who took over as general manager of Edelman Toronto as part of a slew of executive changes announced in January. Larsen is coming into a new position at the agency that Lisa Kimmel, president of Edelman Canada, says has been created in an effort to help generate new business in the crisis and risk management category. In his new role, Larsen will be responsible for the agency’s crisis and risk specialists in Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, also working with Edelman’s global practice to help serve Canadian clients.

“We’ve always done a significant amount of crisis and risk work, but we’ve recognized that there’s an opportunity to do more of that kind of work,” Kimmel says. “Hiring someone of John’s calibre and experience will really enable us to get…recognition in that market.”

Larsen is currently president of Zero Hour Strategy, a reputation management and executive crisis counselling consultancy, and has held various senior communications positions within government and the corporate world. He was also the founder of independent critical communications firm Corpen Group Inc.

In Toronto, Murphy will oversee a team of more than 20 across Canada working on Edelman’s health business. Previously, Murphy was a marketing consultant with Y&R Toronto, leading Pfizer’s over-the-counter and Champix business in Canada. He also previously held positions at Y&R in Warsaw, Frankfurt, Paris, London and New York.

Kimmel says bringing in someone with Murphy’s agency and category experience will help bring Edelman’s creative and integrated offering, a recent priority for the agency, into the health category.

As Edelman has evolved to offer more integrated communications and marketing, it’s looking to diversify the work it does in that space as well, she adds. “Michael’s background just builds and complements on what we’re already doing.”

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