Edelman, the global communications firm, today announced that AJ Hesselink, General Manager, Edelman Amsterdam, will be taking on the role of Chief Operating Officer, EMEA, under the new leadership of Ed Williams, President & CEO, EMEA, both effective from October 1. Hesselink will be succeeded by Steven Heywood, Deputy General Manager, Amsterdam.

Hesselink joined Edelman almost four years ago to lead Edelman’s Dutch business. During that time Hesselink has implemented a strategy to address clients’ strategic communication challenges through multi-disciplinary communications and marketing solutions. Under his leadership Edelman Amsterdam has doubled in size. Prior to joining Edelman, he spent more than nine years working at Philips where he held senior leadership roles in Philips’ global integrated marketing function, and was CMO for the Asia Pacific region, working out of Singapore. He began his career as a business journalist for Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal.

Hesselink said of his new role: “The past few years in Amsterdam have been amazing, and it has been an absolute honour to lead such a talented team of professionals and work with such a broad array of amazing clients. I am excited about the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead, and I am looking forward to working with Ed and the leadership team in the EMEA region to further improve the quality, integration and effectiveness of the work we deliver.”

Ed Williams, President & CEO, EMEA said: “AJ has demonstrated how our firm can add value through strategic problem-solving in areas like shareholder activism and modern digital campaigning. Under his leadership Edelman Amsterdam has become a critical partner to our clients. He’s attracted significant new clients for the network and has transformed the office into one that develops and executes high-quality, integrated communications and marketing work. I’m looking forward to partnering with him to increase operational excellence and strengthen the Edelman footprint within the region.”

Steven Heywood, currently Deputy GM in Amsterdam, will assume the role of General Manager on November 1. Steven built and led the first integrated client team in the Amsterdam office and since then has continued to be instrumental to the turnaround of the business, which positions him perfectly to steer the office through its next phase of continued growth. Prior to joining Edelman, he was Head of Corporate Communications for eBay, and has held roles in McDonald’s, the Ministry of Defence, and several global agencies.

Part of the world’s largest independent communications agency, Edelman Amsterdam has 85 staff who provide a full-service offer to clients including research and insights, strategy and planning, in-house creative and production services, and end-to-end activation of digital, earned and paid media channels. Recent work includes the 2019 SABRE award winning HP Reinvent Memories campaign, acting as communications advisor to the largest IPO in the Netherlands, and PayPal’s Seize the Moment campaign.

Steven said: “It is a great honour to take on the leadership of our talented team in Amsterdam, and to continue our relentless focus on winning and delivering integrated, quality client work that drives impact for our clients and commercial success for Edelman, within a culture that enables everyone to give their best.”

“Steve has played a key role in our local transformation as we delivered integrated, client-centric solutions to critical business challenges for leading local and global brands,” AJ Hesselink, general manager, Edelman Amsterdam said. “It is clear that he is exactly the right person to take the business forward to the next phase of growth and customer focus.”


Kayleigh Ryan

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About Edelman

Edelman is a global communications firm that partners with businesses and organizations to evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations. Our 6,000 people in more than 60 offices deliver communications strategies that give our clients the confidence to lead and act with certainty, earning the trust of their stakeholders. Our honours include the Cannes Lions Grand Prix for PR; Advertising Age’s 2019 A-List; the Holmes Report’s 2018 Global Digital Agency of the Year; and, five times, Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work. Since our founding in 1952, we have remained an independent, family run business. Edelman owns specialty companies Edelman Intelligence (research) and United Entertainment Group (entertainment, sports, lifestyle).