HONG KONG — Cohn & Wolfe has hired former Burson-Marsteller China CEO Matt Stafford to lead Asia-Pacific, following the short-lived tenure of Angelina Ong last year.

Stafford has been named president of Cohn & Wolfe Asia-Pacific, after serving most recently as director of policy and first assistant secretary under Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull. He also held these roles – as well as the position of cabinet secretary – during former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s time in office, ending his tenure as cabinet secretary in September 2015. Prior to returning to Australia in 2014, Stafford was China CEO at Burson-Marsteller, and led the firm's global Huawei relationship.

"We’ve been highly selective in our search for our new Asia-Pacific president, and I’m confident Matt is the right person to elevate our business in the region," said Cohn & Wolfe global CEO Donna Imperato, to whom Stafford will report. "Not only does Matt have an impeccable track record of Asian agency leadership, he is widely respected for his broad expertise across corporate, consumer and technology, and for his ability to enact effective solutions in challenging situations."

Stafford's predecessor Ong, another former Burson executive, lasted just 10 months as Asia-Pacific president at Cohn & Wolfe.

Cohn & Wolfe has grown its Asian presence rapidly in recent years, acquiring firms in India, China and Southeast Asia.

"Cohn & Wolfe is a growth engine right now," said Stafford, who will relocate to Hong Kong for the new role. "With multiple ‘Agency of the Year’ and ‘Best Place to Work’ wins, both clients and talent are gravitating toward the agency, and its momentum in Asia is a key part of this global success."