Public relations pioneer Daniel Edelman, who died Jan. 15, received many eulogies at his services yesterday but among those he would have prized the most was this by daughter Renée: “Dan felt PR is a higher form of communications…the conscience of a corporation.”
The remarks by Ruth, his wife of 49 years, and sons Richard and John, provided details of a life devoted to serving others.
A typical anecdote recalled that Edelman, upon seeing a sign in the lobby of company offices welcoming a guest that had “Edelman” in big letters and the name of the guest in small letters, ordered a reversal of the sizes. “It should be the other way around,” Edelman told his staffers, who made the change.
Renée said one of the bedrock beliefs of her father was to remain independent.
“He was never going to work for anyone, never sell to an ad agency, he had to be his own boss,” she said.
Among people he admired the most were entrepreneurs, she noted, adding that the Edelman firm has represented numerous people who started major businesses from scratch.
Richard Edelman, who succeeded his father as president and CEO, said that he talked to his father every day no matter where in the world either one of them was.
After Richard had spent 15 years with the company, Dan told him it was time for Richard to take the helm but added, “I’m still here, call me every day,” Richard recalled.
The company ran a full page ad in the New York Times yesterday with a picture of Edelman above the inscription, “There will never be another Dan Edelman—indomitable, ever modest, always resilient, ready for the next challenge. His story inspires us all.”