'Business as usual' for Bell Pottinger Asian business as it rebrands as Klareco

Bell Pottinger Asia today relaunched as Klareco Communications, formalising its total separation from Bell Pottinger UK, which is close to collapse following the scandal over its involvement in a campaign in South Africa.

A memo from Asia CEO Ang Shih Huei said that it had been an "extraordinary and difficult time" but that the Asia team was now relaunching as Klareco Communications under a new ownership structure.

"This underlines what we have been reiterating over recent days – that our team in Asia is, and always has been, a separate legal entity from Bell Pottinger in the UK," the memo read.

"While the UK business is expected to go into administration as early as next week, the Asia business is entirely ringfenced and solvent. Our teams are intact, we continue to serve our clients and it is entirely business as usual."

Klareco means "clarity" in Esperanto, and Huei said the name "underlines the diversity and inclusive values of this team, and our aspirations for the future".

Bell Pottinger co-founder Piers Pottinger has been chair of Bell Pottinger Asia since 2013. The Singapore office was established in 2010. It also has a Burma office.

Bell Pottinger’s rapid demise stems from work for South African client Oakbay Investment, which was deemed "likely to inflame racial discord" by the UK Public Relations and Communications Association.

CEO James Henderson has resigned, and the PRCA has expelled the agency. Numerous clients severed ties with the agency following the revelations.

This article originally appeared on sister title Campaign Asia-Pacific. Some details have been added by the PRWeek team

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