Increased oversight from governments, more muscular regulators and heightened public scrutiny are major developments that our clients are grappling with in Asia, largely by building bench strength in their Corporate Affairs teams. This focus reaches across the Corporate Affairs spectrum; from government and regulatory affairs, to external communications and CSR and citizenship.
Our clients across almost every sector are now subject to substantially more complex regulatory systems, consumer protection measures, and demands for transparency from shareholders. In recent years, governments across the globe have been tightening their regulatory frameworks, from the Dodd-Frank Act impacting the financial services industry, to plain packaging in Big Tobacco. In response, companies are reassessing how they interact with governments and other stakeholders and, increasingly, the Corporate Affairs department is the hub managing these relationships and engagement strategies.
The role of CA leaders is also evolving, and continues to move from press relations and interpretation of new laws and regulations, towards influencing debate and shaping policy. The role now needs an ability to anticipate change and apply influence before it happens. Having senior communicators who understand the political and media landscape as well as possessing commercial acumen is vital. Candidates with a combination of private and public sector experience, including stints in politics or as a regulator, are in high demand.
Our clients are also strengthening their external communications teams to handle a more activist stance from shareholders and the general public. The recent Shareholder Spring is an example of where strong investor relations, external communications and crisis management teams can play invaluable roles.
Despite this increased oversight, Asia Pacific remains a focal point for expansion and the strategic position of the CA department continues to be elevated from a nice-to-have, to a business critical function. We are witnessing sustained demand by companies to build-out or restructure their CA teams, particularly in emerging markets such as China and South East Asia where not having sight of key legislation early on, or not engaging proactively with regulators, can be franchise threatening.
People Moves Q2-3, 2012
Steven Thomas has been appointed Group Head of Corporate Communications for AIA. Mr. Thomas will be responsible for leading the entire communications function within the group, based in Hong Kong. Prior to joining AIA, he was Managing Director and Head of Corporate Affairs in China for Citigroup from 2005 to 2012. He also has a wealth of experience in public relations and communications consulting working as a Director at Burson Marsteller from 1997 to 2004. (Hong Kong)
Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
Hugh Stephens, Principal of Trans-Pacific Connections-TPC Consulting, has been appointed Executive-in-Residence of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. As Executives-in-Residence, Mr. Stephens will provide thought leadership through research, events and activities for the the Foundation. Mr. Stephens has over 35 years government and business experience in the Asia Pacific region. Before returning to Canada in December 2009, he served as Senior Vice President, Public Policy (Asia Pacific) for Time Warner, based at the company’s regional headquarters in Hong Kong, and continues to serve as an advisor to the company. Prior to joining Time Warner in January 2001, Mr. Stephens spent 28 years with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. (Canada)
Sanjay Chakravarty has been appointed Director of Corporate Communications and Brand Management & Sustainability for Bosch Asia Pacific. Mr. Chakravarty will be heading this function as part of Centre of Competence for the Asia Pacific region, overseeing countries from Japan to Australia. He has been instrumental in the brand transformation of the erstwhile company Mico to Bosch, through a series of internal and external communication and branding tools running over a span of three years. He is also responsible for the brand equity that Bosch currently enjoys in India. Mr. Chakravarty will be relocating from India to Shanghai for this new appointment. (Shanghai, China))
Cathay Pacific has appointed two senior leaders in their Corporate Communications team; Cecelia Leung will be the new General Manager of Corporate Communications, while Chitty Cheung will be the Director of Government Affairs, Corporate Communications and Environmental Affairs. Ms. Leung will focus on the group’s public and media relations, issues management and CSR work. She previously worked at sister airline Dragonair where she was GM of inflight services and international affairs. Ms. Cheung will be more focused on government relations and environmental affairs. She joined Cathay Pacific as a management trainee in 1987 and has held various senior management positions within the airline, in Hong Kong and overseas. She is also a Director of Hong Kong Airport Services and Chairman of Vogue Laundry Service. (Hong Kong)
Jane Ong has been appointed Head of Corporate Affairs for South Asia at Citi India. Ms. Ong will be responsible for media relations, managing external and internal communications as well as Citi’s Citizenship portfolio. She will report to Pramit Jhaveri, CEO of Citi India. Prior to joining Citi, Ms. Ong was Head of Communications at Royal Bank of Scotland India and Head of Communications & Marketing for RBS Global Banking & Markets in India. Earlier in her career, she was the Head of Burson-Marsteller’s corporate/financial practice in Hong Kong. Ms. Ong has over 20 years experience in communications, during which she has led a variety of roles across print and television journalism. She worked as the on-air Business/Markets Correspondent at CNBC Asia and led roles at Television Broadcasts and BBC World TV. (Mumbai, India)
Quince Chong has been appointed Chief Corporate Development Officer at CLP Power, a utility subsidiary wholly owned by CLP Holdings. Ms. Chong will lead the functions of marketing and customer service, public affairs and community relations to help drive customer service excellence and strengthen ties with customers and the community as a whole. Prior to CLP Power, Ms. Chong was Director of Corporate Affairs for Cathay Pacific. She has over 25 years experience in corporate communications and customer services and has held various senior management positions in the Hong Kong Tourism Board (formerly the Hong Kong Tourist Association), hotel and aviation industries. (Hong Kong)
Cindy Tian has been appointed regional Vice Chairman of Asia Pacific at Edelman reporting to David Brain, President & CEO of Edelman Asia Pacific. She also leads the China Public Affairs group, reporting to Thomas Mattia, chair of Edelman China. Ms. Tian will oversee cross-practice and inter-office cooperation in the areas of government relations and public affairs. Prior to Edelman, Ms. Tian served as Executive Chair at Burson-Marstellar China from 2006 to 2012. She was a Chinese diplomat for nearly 10 years from the mid-1980s, focusing on cultural exchanges and external communications with overseas postings in the United States and the Caribbean and was among the first group of external communications professionals trained by the Chinese government. (Beijing, China)
Jin Montesano has been appointed Vice President, Global Public Affairs & Communications for the Vaccine business of GlaxoSmithKline. She will report to Christophe Weber, President of GSK Vaccines and will be a member of the company’s Vaccine Executive Team. Ms. Montesano was most recently Vice President Corporate & Government Affairs of Asia Pacific for Kraft Foods, based in Singapore. Ms. Montesano has 17 years experience in strategic communications and stakeholder relations, and previously worked in other large organisations such as GE Money and Oglivy & Mather. (Brussels, Belgium)
Janice Armstrong has been appointed Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Mondalez International, the fast-growing snacks business which spun off from Kraft Foods. Ms. Armstrong will lead a broad Corporate Affairs function including all external and internal communications and government affairs for 21 countries in the region. Prior to Mondolez, Ms. Armstrong was Regional Director for Government Affairs in Asia Pacific at GlaxoSmithKline from 2010 to 2012. Before that, she was Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Monsanto in Asia Pacific, China and India. She has also been Monsanto’s Public Affairs Director for North and South America. Earlier on in her career she was a press secretary for Premier Gary Filmon in Canada and the political lobbyist for one of Canada’s biggest teachers’ unions. (Singapore)
Paul Barrett has been appointed Global Head of Media Relations at Syngenta, based in Basel, Switzerland. Mr. Barrett was most recently Head of Corporate Affairs of South East Asia in Singapore having joined the company in 2010. Mr. Barrett has 20 years experience in corporate public affairs, public relations and journalism. He has previously worked in other large organisations including Neptune Orient Lines and Lewis Public Relations. (Basel, Switzerland)
For further information on our Corporate Affairs functional capability in Asia, please contact:
Room 1801, Alexandra House
18 Chater Road Central
Direct line: +852-2844-0865
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