Former Global Head of Talent at AIG Will Develop and Lead the Firm’s Talent and Recruitment Strategy

May 3, 2022 – New York – Edelman has named Soni Basi, PhD, as its global chief people officer, effective May 9. Basi will lead the firm’s talent development, recruitment and retention efforts, partnering with leaders across the agency network to meet the evolving and diverse needs of employees and clients. She will be based in New York and report to Matthew Harrington, global president and chief operating officer.

“We will immediately benefit from Soni's expertise as we continue to transition to a hybrid workplace, invest in our culture and look for new ways to anticipate and deliver on everchanging employee expectations,” said Harrington. “Soni's track record spans delivering creative and digital-first initiatives that have transformed talent acquisition, performance and talent management, succession planning and DEI, among other areas that are key to engaging and developing an effective and motivated workforce.” 

Basi comes to Edelman from global insurance leader, AIG, a FORTUNE-100 company with nearly 40,000 employees. At AIG, she led a team of more than 100 talent management, acquisition and learning & development specialists and created the first global Talent Center of Excellence. She led both the ‘Future of Work’ taskforce as well as the Global Wellness Team. Additionally, Basi created the company’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging strategy, and served as co-chair of AIG’s Executive Diversity Council.  

“Today’s employees are belief-driven, choose a workplace based on shared values, and expect their employer to take a stand on societal issues,” said Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman. “Edelman is seeking to live up to what our own Trust Barometer data reveals – that employees are a company’s most important stakeholder – by hiring Soni to be our first Chief People Officer.”

Prior to AIG, Basi served as the VP of Global Talent at Allergan Pharmaceuticals. There she shaped the strategic end-to-end Global Talent agenda and created programs that attracted over 3,000 candidates annually. Basi also introduced the ‘My Allergan Career’ development program and ran a Global Inclusion Council of the 15 top executives from each region and business who partnered to create Allergan’s Inclusion & Diversity Agenda. Before Allergan, Basi was VP, Global Learning & Talent Development at Estee Lauder Companies. At Estee Lauder she directed the team that developed and launched the company’s first Global Talent program across 30 brands and 40,000 employees. 

“Edelman builds award-winning, head-turning narratives, stunning visual campaigns and powerful stories that strengthen the world’s leading brands,” said Basi. “With the same energy, I’m excited to bring creativity and rigor to how we attract, develop, engage and retain our world-class talent. We have over 6,000 magnetic stories to amplify to the world and we will add more. There's never been a better time to join Edelman, and I am privileged to be a part of the Edelman family.”

Basi serves on numerous advisory boards including The Shine Collective, a nonprofit she co-founded in 2020; Bullseye Engagement Solutions; and Jobs for America’s Graduates/Jobs for New Jersey Graduates. She has been a speaker at industry conferences and was featured in publications such as American Healthcare Leader Magazine and Chief Learning Officer, which named her one of the Top 50 Learning Officers in 2015.

She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and received her PhD and MA in Social Psychology from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.