JOHANNESBURG — Kevin Welman, who stepped down as MD of FleishmanHillard South Africa earlier this year, has launched a new firm called ByDesign Communications.

Welman joins forces with Vanessa Baard to unveil the firm, after the duo previously worked together at FleishmanHillard, where Welman spent two decades. Baard left Fleishman in July, after working at the firm for more than 10 years.

In an email memo, Welman noted that, "while ByDesign Communications is a full service communications, content and public relations firm that will partner clients on critical business issues," the agency will also benefit from being formed in the social media era.

"We fundamentally believe that the world would be a better place if we were all able to communicate more effectively," said Welman.  "We understand content from a tweet to a whitepaper, from an internal memo to a press statement, from an audio file to a full length video documentary.  We have the abilities to bring content to life online using sound, video and design, and we know how to amplify social content with paid media where necessary."

Welman is not the first head of one of South Africa's big PR firms to strike out on his own this year. Last month, Magna Carta MD Vincent Magwenya left the firm to launch a new consultancy, focusing on startups and SMEs.