Corporate updates from the worlds of public relations, advertising, media, and marketing & communications

By Jennifer Khoo

21 Century Fox

21st Century Fox (21CF) has named Thomas Gaissmaier to the role of Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer. Based at the New York headquarters, he will work with senior management and human resources leaders across the business to help drive the ongoing transformation of the company and its people.

Gaissmaier joins 21CF from The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), where he led the Human Resource practice in North America and was a member of the global leadership team of the People & Organization practice. Prior to his 16-year career at BCG, he was a television and radio news reporter and producer in his native Germany.

APCO Worldwide

APCO Worldwide will open a new office in Frankfurt, as part of its ongoing expansion into Germany. The new Frankfurt office will be led by Isabel Kassabian, Deputy Managing Director of APCO in Germany. Kassabian is originally from the area and will be relocating there from Berlin in early 2017.

With a background in legal studies and business administration, Kassabian joined APCO’s team in Germany in 2002 and was promoted to deputy managing director in 2015. She has more than 15 years of experience leading multi-market corporate communication and crisis campaigns for clients across a range of sectors.


Arkadin, an NTT Communications company and one of the largest providers of Unified Communications and Collaboration services, revealed in December that businesses can now deploy contact center agents on local cloud infrastructure in the Americas, Europe and Asia that integrates with Skype for Business. 

Arkadin’s hosted Clarity Connect Contact Center for Office 365 enables customers to deploy agents in more than 15 countries, all connected on a single domain. It is a global cloud solution, filling a market need for a provider capable of supporting complex worldwide deployments and helping customers who are not currently supported natively in Skype Online, advanced call routing and queuing, IM routing and webchat.


Bloomberg was named one of the Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality, receiving a perfect score on the 2017 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

Bloomberg has exemplified leadership on key LGBT issues, signing the corporate amicus filing for marriage equality before the U.S. Supreme Court, signing the Human Rights Campaign letter of corporate support for the repeal of LGBT discriminatory legislation in North Carolina, Mississippi, and Missouri, and participating in a corporate amicus filing for the NC legislation to be overturned.


Mike Fernandez has been named U.S. CEO of Burson-Marsteller, succeeding Michael Law who becomes Worldwide Executive VP. Fernandez joined PR and communications firm in 2016 as Chair of Global Corporate and Financial Practice to spearhead client development, strategy and new offerings for the Practice.

He has previously served as the chief communications officer for five large U.S.-based corporations across different industries, including financial, technology, consumer goods and services, and healthcare. Most recently, he led global corporate affairs at Cargill, where for six years he was responsible for communications, brand and marketing services, government relations, and corporate social responsibility.


CASBAA, an association for digital multichannel TV, content, platforms, advertising and video delivery in Asia, has returned to Singapore to host the 4th OTT Summit, Asia’s OTT (Over-The-Top) industry marquee annual event. A series of expert panels explored how internet-based content is changing the media landscape.

While traditional media incumbents remain dominant, over-the-top (OTT) video services are transforming viewing habits throughout the region. The spectacular success, both critical and commercial, of such diverse video platforms as Netflix, Hooq and Spuul have established OTT services as real competitors to mainstream broadcasters.

CMMB Vision Holdings Ltd

CMMB Vision Holdings Limited, a Hong Kong-based next-generation satellite-to-mobile Internet Protocol-broadcasting company, has entered into a Strategic Cooperation Framework Agreement with TIAA (Telematics Industry Application Alliance), China’s largest connected-car industry ecosystem alliance, to develop standards, products, and services on a satellite-based mobile multimedia broadcasting platform.

The collaboration will promote digital entertainment, data, and telematics services for vehicles with rapid development of a full range of products and services. One of the goals is to deliver big data and multimedia services to consumer mobile devices anytime anywhere with unprecedented speed, scale, low-cost, and universal connectivity.

Colt Technology Services

Colt, a global high bandwidth network provider, plans to expand and enhance the Colt IQ Network™ in Singapore and Hong Kong as part of a significant investment push into Asia over the next three years. Comprising both optical and ethernet architecture, it will provide high-bandwidth services to major buildings and data centers across Asia.

With this expansion, Colt will become the only provider to have fully-owned fiber metro networks in key Asian cities (including Tokyo, Osaka and Singapore) and major European cities. Colt’s Singapore-based initiatives are set to begin in April, with Hong Kong and other Asian cities to follow in 2017 and beyond.

The Conference Board

Over the next decade, health spending will grow 15 percent due to demographic trends alone, according to a report by The Conference Board, The Impact of Demographic Trends on Consumer Spending, examining the size and age distribution of the future population and how spending patterns will change as people age.

More so than any other category, healthcare spending is concentrated among the oldest households. Long-term care, in particular, is likely to experience even more dramatic growth of 20-25 percent. Businesses can be proactive in anticipation of these major changes, and improve future planning.

Dezan Shira & Associates

Dezan Shira & Associates, a pan-Asian, multi-disciplinary professional services firm in legal, tax and operational advisory, is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017. Since 1992, it has expanded from a humble beginning in Shenzhen to 30 offices spread across China, ASEAN, India, and other developed economies.

To honor a landmark year, a new commemorative logo was launched to reflect the continuous journey, with the numbers “two” and “five” tracing the steps from its starting point in China (red) and bridging the rest of Asia to span the ASEAN region (yellow), Vietnam (purple), and India (green).

The Economist Group

The Economist Group has acquired Signal Noise as it expands its fast-growing content solutions business. Signal Noise is a London-based data design studio founded in 2010 to create data visualizations, tools and dashboards for clients including Accenture, EE and Unilever.

The Economist Group is known for telling engaging stories using facts and data that provoke meaningful conversations with key audiences. The capabilities of Signal Noise, with its mix of technical and creative talent, will allow the London-based multimedia company to step up the innovative and disruptive quality of its visual data storytelling for clients.

Edelman Hong Kong

Edelman has appointed Celevel Butler as Managing Director of Integrated Brand, one of Edelman Singapore’s largest practices. The announcement follows a string of senior hires across Edelman’s global network in the integrated brand communications space, including Mark Renshaw as global chair of the Brand practice and Rupen Desai as vice chairman of APACMEA.

Butler will have immediate responsibility for the vision, strategy and operations of Edelman Singapore’s Consumer practice, partnering with the firm’s digital, strategic planning and creative teams to further Edelman’s integrated marketing initiatives in the country. In her seven-year tenure as general manager of Saatchi & Saatchi Singapore, she transformed the Singapore operation into a regional hub.


FleishmanHillard (FH) has promoted Yu Li, previously a senior vice president and partner, to Regional Talent Development Lead for the Asia Pacific region. She was also the firm’s Head of Talent Development for Greater China and spent eight months of her 12-year tenure working in its global headquarters in the United States.

Before joining FleishmanHillard in 2005, she worked for three years at a leading logistics company in Beijing and started her career at JPMorgan Chase in Paris. In her new role, she will be tasked with continuing to build FH’s talent in the region, which boasts a low turnover, strong tenure and longstanding gender equity.

Global Sources

Global Sources, a business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with Greater China, has renewed its contracts with AsiaWorld-Expo Management to host Hong Kong’s AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE) in 2019 and 2020 at a total contract value of approximately US$27.1 million.

Global Sources has been hosting trade shows at AWE since 2006 and has brought more than 2 million buyers and exhibitors to visit Hong Kong over the past decade. The most recent held show in October featured more than 8,500 booths and attracted more than 79,000 buyers from 153 countries and territories to attend. In 2016 alone, Global Sources exhibitions contributed approximately HK$2.75 billion to the local economy.

GP Strategies (Hong Kong) Limited

GP Strategies Corporation, a global performance improvement solutions provider, and Degreed, a technology company for all forms of professional and lifelong learning, have partnered to offer Degreed’s learning platform to clients of GP Strategies within the US federal government and other commercial enterprises globally.

The Degreed program targets informal and self-directed learning and supports employee learning in a one-stop shop by providing employers with the structure and tools necessary to organize, curate, target and track goals and progress. On a single, easy-to-use platform, it can take place anywhere, making corporate learning and development (L&D) easier to manage and more effective.

Instinctif Partners

Instinctif Partners’ managing partner & CEO Nic Pearce spoke recently as a panelist at the BritishAmerican Business (BABinc) Talent Brand event in New York, discussing the impact of the “gig economy” on people, businesses, and brands. It is believed that the gig economy is here to stay.

For businesses, it can provide a flexible resource and cost base that enable higher speed and efficiency. It is a way for companies to generate quick fixes and short term results. But many believe the negative impact on a company’s culture and brand can easily outweigh the short-term gains of speed and efficiency because businesses are still driven by human endeavor.

Mandarin Matrix

Hong Kong-based Mandarin Matrix, a publisher of teaching materials helping K-12 students learn Chinese as a foreign language, has been chosen as a partner for the 1 Million Strong Initiative. Launched in 2016, the initiative is a commitment to strengthening US-China relations by teaching one million US students Mandarin Chinese by 2020.

Along with the University of Oregon’s Center for Applied Second Language Studies and Tencent’s VIPKID, Mandarin Matrix will develop and leverage technology to improve and increase access to Mandarin language classes, particularly in underserved communities. The company has been building a global presence supporting schools in the Asia Pacific region and, most recently, in the larger US market.

New Narrative

New Narrative, a publications firm specializing in financial market editorial content, has announced the expansion of its operations to North America with the opening of an office in New York City. It will be led by Glenn Mott, a former executive editor and publishing director at Hearst.

Mott, an award-winning editor, publisher and journalist, joins the company as the founding partner of its North American operation. In his previous role as editor and publishing director for the Hearst newspaper syndicate, he oversaw an array of syndication partnerships with global media organizations, including The GuardianThe Toronto Star, Bulls Press, Univision, Tribune Content Agency and Gannett.

Ruder Finn

RFI Studios China, the digital arm of communications consultancy Ruder Finn Asia, has been selected as the digital agency for the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (PCCA), Asia’s premier sports car racing series. Ruder Finn Asia has served Porsche China as the corporate communications agency before RFI Studios’ retainer win for the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.

RFI will lead Porsche Carrera Cup Asia’s digital campaigns and social media promotions across the region, in addition to designing and maintaining this prestigious event’s entire web presence. Porsche Carrera Cup Asia is a one-make sports car racing series featuring the 911 GT3 Cup model, and 2017 will be the 15th season for the series.

Saatchi & Saatchi

Saatchi & Saatchi has been chosen as the lead agency for HSBC’s global brand advertising account in a competitive bid. The agency will develop a new brand positioning for the bank through multichannel communications across the world, including HSBC’s iconic global airports portfolio.

Saatchi & Saatchi has been on the HSBC advertising roster since 2012, when it was appointed to the HSBC Premier and Sponsorship accounts, before adding responsibility for HSBC’s Jade, Asset Management and Insurance briefs. An integrated team, based in the new Saatchi & Saatchi offices at 40 Chancery Lane in London, will be dedicated to the new account.


Scholastic, a global publishing and media company for children learning, has surpassed the company-wide goal of sustainable paper procurement practices by increasing the percentage of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paper used.

In 2015, Scholastic purchased 74,286 tons of paper, of which 53,437 tons (71.93%) was FSC-certified, up from 3.6% in 2007. In addition, 81 percent of all paper purchased contained post-consumer recycled waste (PCW), ranging from 10% to 100% recycled waste.

The goals include sustainable forestry practices, wise use of resources, use of recycled paper/materials, minimization of basis weight, design for the environment, clean manufacturing practices, economic viability, and credible reporting and verification.

Time Warner Inc

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” has crossed the US$800 million mark at the box office worldwide. The acclaimed film – set in a new era in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World – is the Warner Bros. Studio’s top-grossing film internationally for 2016. 

In addition, it has earned five BAFTA Award nominations: Outstanding British Film, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Sound, and Best Special Visual Effects.

The film marks the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, whose beloved Harry Potter books were adapted into the top-grossing film franchise of all time. Her script was inspired by the Hogwarts textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, written by her character Newt Scamander.

The New York Times

Despite precipitous declines in print advertising, The New York Times Company recorded significant growth in subscriptions and in digital advertising. In a February release of figures, print advertising revenue in 2016 fell 16 percent, driving a 9 percent drop in total advertising revenue.

The story on the digital side was positive. Digital advertising revenue rose 6 percent last year to reach US$209 million, while digital-only subscriptions to news products during the year increased by 514,000 for its news products during the year, bringing its total to 1.6 million. Some 276,000 subscriptions were made in the last quarter.

Resources Global Professionals (HK) Ltd

The holding company of Resources Global Professionals (RGP), Resources Connection, Inc, has appointed Kate W. Duchene to the position of President and CEO after serving as Interim CEO since October 2016 when Anthony Cherbak announced his unexpected retirement due to health considerations.

Duchene joined the company in 1999, serving as Chief Legal Officer, Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Secretary. As part of the executive team in the past 17 years, she developed strategy and made business decisions across RGP’s global platform.

In 2012, Duchene assumed leadership and financial responsibility for the company’s legal consulting business.

Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters has officially opened the Thomson Reuters Labs in Singapore. The Labs enable lean experimentation with advanced data analytics and machine intelligence to solve global challenges for customers. Specifically, they provide capabilities across the many disciplines that constitute data science, delivering data exploration tools, dashboards, visualizations and proof-of-concept applications.

The Singapore Lab, located in the central business district at One Raffles Quay, is the first branch in Asia to open as part of a growing global network, joining locations in Boston, Cape Town, London, Waterloo (Canada) and Zürich. It will support Thomson Reuters financial & risk, tax & accounting and legal businesses across Asia Pacific.

Turner Asia Pacific

Turner Asia Pacific has announced the establishment of a new Southeast Asia organization and appointment of a new regional lead to be based in Singapore, naming Vishal Dembla as Vice President and General Manager of Turner Southeast Asia. In his previous capacity, he was responsible for distribution and content sales in Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

In his new role, Dembla will provide oversight of all commercial lines, including ad and content sales and will lead the region’s programming, creative services and marketing departments for all of Turner’s kids and entertainment brands. His team will also focus on further expanding the reach of Turner’s existing brands.

Weber Shandwick

One of the leading drivers of corporate reputation among consumers is how good or healthy a company’s products or services are for them, and how happy they make them feel, according to a recent survey by global communications and engagement firm Weber Shandwick.

The degree to which products and services make individuals feel good or healthy surpasses their interest in specific corporate responsibility initiatives, sometimes by wide margins, with 47 percent of consumers frequently discussing how healthy or good specific company products or services are, and 46 percent increasingly buying from companies that make them feel good.

WE Communications

A study by WE Communications covering China, the US and the UK reveals that earned media placements are regarded as the most influential sources of news and information when it comes to driving consumer opinions about brands and products, and when driving sharing across social media and other platforms.

Additionally, earned media rates are highest amongst respondents when asked what source of news and information about a brand they would likely share when seeing something positive about a brand. Brands can win by understanding intentional and unintentional search behaviors, and with smarter targeting of the types of content that resonate by sector.

West UC

According to a West UC report, customers engage with brands wherever they are, be it in person, over the phone, online or through apps – areas in which businesses need to be delivering consistent, superior service. For brands, this means having to maintain a connected ecosystem of communication channels and data to accommodate different customers’ needs at different times.

The report suggests: a human touch by speaking to a person over the phone still represents a fast, convenient option for resolving certain issues; proactive communication shows customers that your brand is always a few steps ahead of their needs; and brands can develop ideas for improvement through social channels.

WRG Creative Communication

WRG and The Moment have created a new partnership, bringing together WRG’s scale and established reputation across the events sector and The Moment’s expertise in marketing communications and film. The collaboration reflects the changing face of marketing and how brands are seeking new and effective ways to engage audiences.

WRG’s clients include Shell, adidas, Google, and other healthcare companies; clients of The Moment include Levi’s, Ladbrokes and Kenco. Both agencies are being led by CEO Russ Lidstone under the alliance named The Creative Engagement Group.