Ketchum appoints Stephen Waddington as Chief Engagement Officer

Global public relations firm Ketchum today announced that European digital director Stephen Waddington has been promoted to the newly created global role of chief engagement officer.

Waddington assumes his new role immediately, reporting to David Gallagher, senior partner and CEO of Europe, where he is based.

As chief engagement officer, Waddington will drive the integration and innovation of digital and social capabilities throughout the Ketchum network. Specifically, he will accelerate the implementation of cutting-edge digital and social media strategy in existing account relationships, and he will act as a change agent, ambassador and thought leader for the agency on modern forms of engagement and public relations practice. He also will work to ensure the most current tools, resources and best practices from across the global network are leveraged for all client engagements, as well as provide lead senior counsel on integrated global accounts.

Commenting on Waddington’s promotion, Rob Flaherty, senior partner, CEO and president of Ketchum, said, “All of our clients are at different stages of a journey from using digital as a channel through to building fully social businesses. Stephen is one of the world’s most respected digital and social leaders, so I’m delighted he’ll be driving forward a unified approach to social and digital across all of our offices.” 

Gallagher added, “Clients expect agencies like Ketchum to be able to handle every aspect of their campaigns. In practice, that means we’re just as likely to convert digital campaigns to offline, or to run integrated real-time campaigns as we are to build up a client’s digital presence. Under his leadership, we can anticipate our clients’ future needs and stay ahead of the curve.” 

Waddington will continue to work with the European network of digital and social specialists he helped to cultivate. He will be working closely with partner Debra Forman and Vivien Teo, who lead digital strategy in North America and Asia, respectively. 

Reflecting on his promotion, Waddington said, “My workplace is the Internet. It has no boundaries. It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to take on a global position at Ketchum. I really appreciate being part of a team that has so wholeheartedly embraced the future of communications. We already have massive appetite from clients and an army of talented digital and social practitioners, so my role will be to operationalize our best practices on a global scale, and I’m thrilled to take it on.” 

Waddington’s career as a public relations consultant, author and journalist, spans more than 20 years and has earned him a reputation as a thought leader, consumer engagement advocate and public relations modernizer. He is a visiting professor at the University of Newcastle in the U.K., and is the recent past president of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, where he drove a successful modernization and professionalism agenda, leading fundamental reform of governance and member engagement. 

Waddington is co-author of two highly successful books, #BrandVandals (Bloomsbury, Nov. 2013) and Brand Anarchy (Bloomsbury, Feb. 2012), and he edited and contributed to Share This (Wiley, July 2012) and Share This Too (Wiley, Sept. 2013). In 2012, he received an Outstanding Contribution to Social Media Award at the U.K. Social Media Communication Awards, and in 2014, Waddington was named the fifth most influential person in U.K. social media marketing by The Drum.

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