GCI and APCO consolidate Asian forces

HONG KONG: GCI and APCO are set to merge their Asian operations by

January to cut costs, and the move will see Nicholas Walters, GCI's Asia

chief, lose his job.



Walters will leave GCI and return to the UK after 14 years with the

company, including two years in the Asia chief post, and as MD of the

London office.



The consolidation of the two brands has been made to stem losses in its

$5.6 million region during the global economic downturn, said

APCO Hong Kong MD Richard Burn.



"It's not the busiest time in the PR industry, and so we have to save

costs," said Burn. "The time GCI chose to come in (to Asia) was when the

market began to bite." Burn denied that the merger was intended as a

rescue package for GCI, which had not expanded in Asia as quickly as

originally planned.



He will take over management of GCI/APCO as Asia-Pacific managing

director at the beginning of January.



Walters will relocate to London after more than two years as the head of

GCI's regional operations in Hong Kong, GCI Sun Pub in Tokyo, and GCI

Malaysia.



The consolidated group will now cover those markets and China,

Indonesia, and Vietnam, where APCO has operations.



The two firms began cooperating with their first joint pitch in October,

which saw the firms clinch government agency Invest Hong Kong against

eight other consultancies.



GCI Group CEO Bob Feldman said, "APCO is particularly strong in China,

and will open up this market for our clients at a very strategic time."



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