Updated Sep 18, 2023 - Economy & Business

Edelman U.S. CEO Lisa Osborne Ross taking "leave of absence"

Pharrell Williams and Lisa Osborne Ross at the "Dinner With A Purpose" event on November 03, 2022. Credit: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Mighty Dream Forum

Edelman U.S. CEO Lisa Osborne Ross is taking a leave of absence and global president and chief operating officer Matthew Harrington will take over effective immediately, according to an internal memo shared with Axios.

Why it matters: Ross is the latest in a long string of C-suite executives to leave the public relations giant.

Be smart: Edelman U.S. chief operating officer Jim O'Leary departed to serve as CEO of rival firm Weber Shandwick, while U.S. chief people officer Amanda Schmidt and U.S. chief financial officer Jenn Rayman also departed earlier this year.

  • Global head of corporate affairs Dave Samson retired last month and President of Edelman New York Oscar Suris recently left the firm for an in-house role at Duke Energy.

Catch up quick: Ross took over as CEO in 2020 and was well-regarded for guiding the firm through the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • She also led several strategic initiatives including Mighty Dream, a creative advocacy group launched in partnership with Pharrell Williams, and oversaw the U.S. practice as it achieved record breaking revenue growth, following declines brought on by the pandemic.

Yes, but: Edelman went through two rounds of layoffs under Ross' tenure.

What they're saying: New acting CEO Matthew Harrington told staff in a memo that he is "confident" in the U.S. leadership team's ability to "drive the business forward."

  • When asked whether Ross would be returning to her role as CEO, Edelman provided no comment.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with further context.

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