JOHANNESBURG — Kevin Welman is stepping down from his post as MD of FleishmanHillard's South African operation, after two decades with the Omnicom PR firm in South Africa.

Sharon Piehl, who joined FleishmanHillard in 2011 to lead its brand marketing team, is promoted to GM of the operation, one of South Africa's largest PR firms. Piehl also leads the consumer products and service sector for FleishmanHillard EMEA.

Welman served as MD since 2007, after rising up the ranks at the agency. He told the Holmes Report that he is taking a break after 20 years. "Kevin has done a fantastic job for us, and we are most grateful for his great service to our firm," said FleishmanHillard global CEO John Saunders.

Vanessa Baard, Jared Carneson and Joanne Theodorides will join Piehl on FleishmanHillard's South Africa management team. "Sharon Piehl brings highly creative and strategic thinking to the Johannesburg team, as well as proven leadership abilities," said Saunders. "I am confident that she will maintain the office’s commitment to outstanding client service and the agency’s growth trajectory in the African market."

Prior to joining Fleishman, Piehl held positions at Inzalo Communication and Altech. Under her leadership, the firm's brand marketing team has quadrupled in size since 2011.

"In the five years that I have been with FleishmanHillard, I have greatly enjoyed watching the Johannesburg office grow in both size and capabilities," said Piehl. "I look forward to leading this talented team, and building our programs and talent to bring our clients the most cutting-edge and creative communications strategies."