PARIS — APCO Worldwide has hired Arnaud Pochebonne as managing director of its Paris office. He joins after nearly 16 years at Weber Shandwick, where he was most recently general manager for France and executive vice president of EMEA.

In his new role, Pochebonne will focus on corporate, crisis and public affairs work, and also support APCO’s development in the key fields of strategy, data and creativity and execution. He replaces Nicolas Castex, who had been in the role for one year and has set up his own corporate and financial agency, Everybody Knows.

Pochebonne told the Holmes Report: “Weber Shandwick is an outstanding agency I will always have a deep respect for. When I took the lead in Paris 10 years ago the agency was in a very different place. I’m proud to have brought the agency to the position it is in now and it’s time for a new chapter and for me to come back to my core crisis and corporate expertise.”

He said he had chosen to move to APCO because it had given him his first experience of public relations consultancy after starting his career in the civil service –  in the business intelligence department of the Secrétariat Général de la Défense Nationale (SGDN) – and also because the agency was seen as a premium consultancy brand in France.

“Very few networked agencies have the ability to compete with management consultancies and take a position as a strong trusted advisor but APCO is a great network to provide that support for French clients and international accounts,” he said.

Claire Boussagol, chairman of APCO’s European region, said Pochebonne’s arrival was the start of a new chapter for the firm’s Paris office: “In an increasingly digital market with audiences more and more fragmented, our customers are demanding higher levels of commitment and content. His mission will be to help them overcome the challenges ahead in an integrated way, based on four strategic pillars: high-level advice, flawless execution, creativity, and data.”

Brad Staples, CEO of APCO Worldwide, added: “Arnaud’s experience at the highest levels of the c-suite for public and private organisations have made him a long sought after partner, and we are thrilled to have him leading our France-based offices, as well as contributing to our robust global network.”

Before he joined Weber Shandwick in 2002, Pochebonne was a senior crisis and public affairs consultant at Burson-Marsteller in France. He also worked at communications consultancy Tilder.