Kate James, who is leaving her post as chief communications officer of the Gates Foundation to join Pearson as chief corporate affairs officer, will give the 52nd annual Distinguished Lecture to the Institute for PR Nov. 21 at the Yale Club, New York.

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James, Edlund
Bjorn Edlund, chairman of Europe, Middle East and Africa for Edelman, will receive the Institute’s Alexander Hamilton Medal for contributions to PR. He is the first person outside of the U.S. to receive the medal.

Edlund, former executive VP, communications, of Royal Dutch Shell, has supported 11 CEOs as head of communications for Shell, Sandoz AG and ABB Ltd. He formed Edlund Consulting after retiring from Shell.

James, who has been with the Gates Foundation as CCO since 2010, will join Pearson after the first of the year, dividing her time between London and New York.

A former researcher at the House of Commons of the U.K., she was at GlaxoSmithKline in a PR post before taking senior posts at Standard Chartered in London and Citibank, New York.

Pearson is called the “largest education company” and “largest book publisher in the world” by Wikipedia. Its stock is listed on both the London and New York Stock Exchanges. Revenues were $8.29 billion in 2012. Total debt is $4.3 billion. Employing 42,980, Pearson’s stock, which was about $28 in 2000, is currently $21.

It is the publisher of The Practice of PR by Fraser Seitel and Effective PR by Glen Broom and Bey-Ling Sha.

Pearson Moves into Online

booksPearson, facing pressures of the internet, paid $650 million last year to acquire EmbanetCompass, which helps colleges to take their degree programs online. Embanett at the time had 35 university clients and Pearson had ten.

Motley Fool said Nov. 4 that Pearson“faces a continuing battle to keep up with changing educational and publishing trends.” Pearson stock trades at 15.4 times earnings.

Says Motley Fool: “Pearson is battling well to stay in touch with changing trends in reading and learning. It has been on a rapid learning curve, and responded well. But it faces quite a battle to maintain its educational standards. There are more exciting growth opportunities out there.”