Arun Sudhaman 12 Nov 2018 // 6:32AM GMT
SINGAPORE — Weber Shandwick has named a new China president after elevating Darren Burns to Asia-Pacific vice chair, the Holmes Report can reveal.
The world's second-biggest PR firm has promoted Lydia Lee to China president, three months after she was also elevated to co-chair of Weber Shandwick's global technology practice. Lee will retain her technology leadership role, but now reports directly to Weber Shandwick Asia-Pacific CEO Baxter Jolly.
Burns relocates to Singapore after 12 years in mainland China, all of them spent with Weber Shandwick, which he joined in 2006 from Golin Taiwan. After leading the Shanghai and Guangzhou offices, Burns was named China president in 2014, overseeing significant growth across the firm's integrated services — which culminated in Weber Shandwick's Greater China Agency of the Year recognition this year.
Burns, whose elevation had been anticipated for some time, will continue to report to Jolly. The leadership reshuffle coincides with Weber Shandwick's 25th anniversary in China. Global CEO Andy Polansky said the firm's "staggering growth" over the past decade was down to Burns, Lee and Greater China chairman David Liu.
"The firm has expanded its footprint beyond Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong into Guangzhou and Shenzhen, in addition to expanding the agency’s offerings into new and innovative areas such as content-to-commerce and influencer management," said Polansky. "Their pioneering efforts in being amongst the first to market in digital, data and analytics, and creative has resulted in Weber Shandwick China becoming a truly integrated marketing services powerhouse in China."
Like Burns, Lee also came to Weber Shandwick from IPG sister firm Golin. She joined Weber Shandwick in 2009 in Beijing, before relocating to Shanghai in 2013 as Asia-Pacific technology chair. In addition to her tech leadership, Lee has also served as the firm's chief strategist in China.
"Having been with the Interpublic Group family since 2005, she is highly regarded within the industry as a leading strategist and expert on China," added Polansky. "Lydia’s passion, drive and determination to connect China to the rest of the world is contagious and many of our clients and colleagues have Lydia to thank for helping them to pioneer new horizons."