Kirsty Graham has been named CEO of Edelman’s global Public Affairs offering, effective February 25. Edelman has more than 200 Public Affairs professionals globally. Graham will be based in New York and report to Katie Burke, chief strategy officer and global head of Practices and Sectors.
“We have a strong history in Public Affairs, and we have worked on some of the most important and challenging assignments in this space,” said Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman. “But we need to globalize our business. The intersection between brand and politics has never been more pronounced. And Kirsty’s global background in pharma, food and trade, along with additional senior hires and potential acquisitions will allow us to scale our offering.”
Graham, who will become a member of the firm’s Operating Committee, joins Edelman from Pfizer Inc, where she served as senior vice president, Corporate Affairs for their Biopharmaceuticals Group. In that role she oversaw the full scope of Corporate Affairs for Pfizer’s innovative medicines businesses. Those businesses operate in more than 125 countries and have a portfolio of more than 600 products generating approximately three-quarters of the company’s revenues.
Prior to her current role, Graham was senior vice president Global Policy and International Affairs at Pfizer. Before that, she served as vice president and Corporate Affairs lead for the pharma company’s Essential Health group. During her 10 years at Pfizer, Graham also held the title of vice president, Policy, External Affairs and Communications for the Primary Care Business unit as well as senior director, International Public Affairs for Asia-Pacific and Canada.
Over the past few years Edelman has strengthened and expanded its Public Affairs offering by bringing aboard an array of diverse talent, including Aaron McLear, U.S. chair of Public Affairs, Lisa Ross, president of Edelman’s Washington, D.C. office, Ambassador Darci Vetter, vice chair, Agriculture Food and Trade, Gurpreet Brar, general manager of Edelman’s Brussel’s office, Anne MacDonald, EVP U.S. Public Affairs, and Lindsay Walters, VP U.S. Public Affairs. The firm also recently announced a partnership with Basilinna, a Washington, D.C.-based strategic consulting company, that provides multinational China and Middle East-based clients of both firms with expanded communications and government relations services in China, the Middle East and the U.S.
“There’s tremendous opportunity in the Public Affairs space due to the volatility of our current world and people are looking for transparency and guideposts,” said Graham. “Clients want a trusted advisor who is able to draw issues together in a coherent way and show them the implications and trends. Edelman does this in a very sophisticated way, and I’m excited to work across the network with an incredible group of professionals on an amazing client roster.”
Before joining Pfizer, Graham spent 16 years in the New Zealand Foreign Service working on a wide range of economic, foreign and trade policy issues with responsibilities covering China, Japan and the U.S. From 2006 to 2010, she served as New Zealand’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations. She holds a BA in English Literature and a postgraduate degree in Philosophy from the University of Otago.
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 honors 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).