Holmes Report 28 Mar 2010 // 12:00AM GMT
The merger in early 2009 of Omnicom-owned Gavin Anderson & Company and Swedish corporate public relations specialist KREAB brought together one of the most established financial PR brands in the Asia-Pacific region with an expanding global firm relatively new to this part of the world to create an operation with a substantial regional footprint—branded offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo, as well as three cities in Australia and strong affiliates in other key markets—and a global network that includes 350 consultants serving 500 clients in more than 25 countries.
Gavin Anderson & Company was ahead of its time in terms of recognizing the importance of the Asia-Pacific marketplace, perhaps because its eponymous founder was an Australian with global experience. As a result, the firm has had a presence in the region for more than 25 years and has been a pioneer and a leader in capital markets communications in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Sydney for most of that time. It has advised on the largest ever cross-border financial transaction in Japan; the first ever contested bid for a company in Japan; the first ever contested takeover of a Chinese company; the first takeover of one independent Chinese company by another; on Asia’s largest ever non-privatization IPO; on four of the five largest IPOs in Singapore in 2006 and three of the top five in 2007; on Korea’s largest ever corporate governance battle; and on the first IPO of a Vietnam-focused company on the London Stock Exchange.
At the time of the merger, the firm had about 80 people in the region, with about 30 in Australia, 25 in Tokyo, and 10 each in Hong Kong and Singapore. Its leadership team included James Weeks, executive chairman for the Asia-Pacific region, who spent 12 years running the firm’s Tokyo office and earlier worked with Burson-Marsteller in Japan; Richard Barton, CEO for Asia, excluding Japan, a nine-year veteran of the region; Tokyo managing partner Deborah Hayden; and the Australian leadership team of Felicity Allen (Melbourne) and Brian Tyson (Sydney).
As a result of the merger, they were joined by a team of six KREAB people in Beijing.
In addition to its own operations in the region, KREAB Gavin Anderson has formal affiliate agreements with leading firms in major markets, most notably Maverick in Jakarta; News Communications in Seoul; and Clavis Communications in Taipei.—PH