It has been a fabulous ride. But all good things must come to an end.
I joined in January 2004 to run our Europe business from London. It was the opportunity of my career. The business doubled, but after seven years I told Richard Edelman I needed to leave because we had to move to New Zealand to be close to my wife’s family. “Good,” he said. “You can run Asia from there.” At the time I wasn’t sure if he had looked at a map, but took him up on the offer anyway.
The business doubled again, but again, six years later, personal reasons mean it is time to move on.
Running Europe, then Asia and then Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa are essentially three versions of the same job. Brilliant, challenging jobs, but fundamentally and structurally similar. And whilst my board role at the firm and various projects have leavened that recently with global tasks, it is difficult to sustain and drive those from islands in the middle of the South Pacific.
And I don’t want to do the same thing for more years, wonderful though this firm is and much as I love the work and the people and am committed to the mission.
Recently a good friend advised me that you have to dedicate time to finding and developing your ‘next thing’ and working full-time as a regional CEO is not allowing me to do that (quite rightly). And the timing is favorable as we are starting planning for our new financial year and we now have a deep and talented bench of people in the region, who will be led from here on by my good friend and colleague Bob Grove.
Leaving this firm will be hard emotionally, but the decision was a very easy one to take in the end. Sometimes you just know.
I would like to thank Richard Edelman and Matt Harrington for their support and trust over the years. And to all my friends in this brilliant firm, I will be cheering you on from the sidelines.
David Brain is president and CEO, Edelman Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa.