Hughes, who was appointed as one of GolinHarris’ three new presidents last year, will relocate to the region in January 2013 will continue to report to CEO Fred Cook.
GolinHarris, which was last month named PRWeek’s 2012 International Agency of the Year, has ten existing offices in Asia, including businesses in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Korea.
But Hughes told PRWeek that the agency was looking to significantly step up its presence in the region, particularly its offering in mainland China.
‘We’re underpowered in mainland China and are going to have to play fast catch-up there,’ he said. ‘We have good on-the-ground teams, but we need to quickly grow to two or three times the size we are now.’
He added that ‘all options were on the table’ in terms of whether this growth is achieved through partnerships or acquisitions, but acknowledged that the agency would struggle to achieve its ambitions through purely organic growth.
The agency will offer services including consumer, corporate and healthcare PR, particularly focussing on growing its tech business in the region.
Hughes will also be responsible for bringing the agency’s recently established g4 model and its network of real-time engagement centres, known as The Bridge, to the region.
Cook commented: ‘Jon’s list of accomplishments is long and impressive. Together with Matt Neale, he has led our global expansion across Europe, while transforming our London office into one of the hottest brands in the market, which resulted in being named PRWeek’s 2012 International Consultancy of the Year. I have no doubt that he will do the same for our offices in Asia Pacific.’