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Burson-Marsteller announces new APAC Executive Leadership Team

Patrick Ford named Regional Chairman, Matt Stafford to lead firm’s Greater China Operations; Prema Sagar in new top team

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | May 16, 2013

Patrick Ford

Burson-Marsteller has announced a new executive leadership team for its Asia-Pacific region to drive growth and integration. Patrick Ford will become chairman of the region and will lead a newly created Senior Executive Leadership Team that includes Australia CEO and Market Leader Christine Jones, Korea Market Leader Margaret Key, Genesis Burson-Marsteller Principal and Founder Prema Sagar, and Hong Kong Market Leader Matt Stafford.

This new leadership team will work with Ford on setting strategy for growth in the region and business priorities in specific areas, including investments in business development, client development, talent recruitment and acquisitions. The team’s members will continue to be responsible for their own markets, but will also take on shared responsibility and authority for the region as a whole.

The firm will integrate its Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenzhen and Hong Kong offices into a new Greater China region under Matt Stafford’s leadership to align its international and domestic communications programmes more effectively for clients and strengthen integration. Stafford will move from Hong Kong Market Leader to CEO of Greater China. He has served as lead counsel to several Chinese-headquartered clients as they position their brands and enhance their corporate communications around the world. He will now be spending more of his time advising our China-based clients, which he leads.

Daisy King will become the interim Beijing Market Leader, in addition to her current role as the head of Burson-Marsteller’s US-China Specialty Group. Vincent Li is promoted to permanent Market Leader for Guangzhou, Chengdu and Shenzhen.  They will join Regional Managing Directors Angelina Ong, the firm’s Shanghai Market Leader and regional Brand Marketing Practice Chair; Ian McCabe, the regional Public Affairs Practice Chair; and Jackie Price, who leads Burson-Marsteller teams on two key regional client relationships, on the Greater China leadership team. A Market Leader for Hong Kong to succeed Stafford is yet to be named.

Former China CEO Chris Deri will leave the firm to pursue another professional opportunity in the United States.

“This new Asia-Pacific team is strongly positioned to provide the leadership and counsel our clients in Asia require in the ever-changing environment they face,” said Burson-Marsteller Worldwide Chair and Chief Executive Officer Donald A Baer. “Our clients expect us to be their strategic partner, fully understanding their business objectives and supporting their corporate values, staying well ahead of communications trends and capabilities, and combining strategic thinking and breakthrough creativity with rigorous focus on getting the job done. This leadership structure in Asia elevates the best team to provide these essential services for our success, delivering on our promise to be the best ideas-driven, results-oriented communications firm in the world.”

Regional Chairman Ford added, “This new Senior Executive Leadership Team will help the firm continue to steer the best course in Asia-Pacific, where we see enormous opportunities for growth. Each member of this team has demonstrated extraordinary leadership far beyond their own market assignments. Prema Sagar, for one, has been a legendary Public Relations pioneer in India since founding Genesis 20 years ago. In fact, she is the only Asian Public Relations executive in Global Public Relations ICCO Hall of Fame.”

Ford added, “As we celebrate our 40th anniversary in Asia-Pacific, we think we have a strong mix of seasoned giants in our business, such as Prema and Christine Jones, along with exciting emerging leaders, such as Margaret Key and Matt Stafford. I am excited about Matt’s new role as CEO for Greater China. Under Matt’s leadership, the Hong Kong office has achieved remarkable business growth and low staff turnover. He is the person best suited to lead our China strategy moving forward, particularly given his expertise working with China-based multinational companies, such as Huawei, as they position their brands and enhance their corporate communications around the world.”

Stafford added, “While I have enjoyed leading our Hong Kong operations since returning to Burson-Marsteller, I am enthusiastic about working with the China team on a new and richer level.   This approach for integrating the markets is precisely what our clients have been asking for, and there has never been a better time for our organization to execute on this strategy.”

Stafford re-joined Burson-Marsteller in Hong Kong in 2008 following five years as the Australian Government’s senior policy adviser on communications reporting to several Cabinet Ministers. He was the lead adviser for the development and implementation of sweeping regulatory reforms in that sector, including a multi-billion dollar national broadband strategy and the privatization of Telstra, the single largest public share offer in Australia’s history.

Ford, a 24-year Burson-Marsteller veteran, will continue to serve as the Global Vice-Chairman for Client Service and as a member of the Burson-Marsteller global leadership team. He has been interim Asia-Pacific Chair since October 2012 and previously had served for six years as President and CEO of Burson-Marsteller US, the firm’s largest region.

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