BANGKOK: Burson-Marsteller has sold its Thai offices to seven local managers reducing its exposure in the Asian market.
This is the third office B-M has pulled out in the Asia Pacific region as part of its move to 'refocus on key markets'.
B-M's Bangkok office will become Aziam-Burston-Marsteller, a B-M affiliate, under its existing managing director, Steve Vincent. The agency will relinquish all equity in the new company, but will take an agreed percentage of its income.
Aziam will continue to service B-M's global clients, and will also seek to develop local Thai clients in areas such as media relations and issues management. Vincent expects to expand the current 22-strong staff by three or four in the next six months.
Burson's Asia Pacific vice chairman, Martin Langford, said: 'It's the same team as before, the same clients, and the name keeps the B-M branding. The only difference is it's not a Burson-Marsteller-managed operation.'
B-M's Malaysia operation bought itself out in a similar arrangement earlier this year. Meanwhile, B-M relinquished all financial interest in its Adelaide, Australia office last February. The Thai buyout leaves B-M with eight wholly-owned offices in the region.
Burson-Marsteller has also expanded its German public affairs practices in Bonn and Berlin in the run up to the relocation of the German parliament from Bonn to Berlin next summer.
Christof Klitz, who joined the agency in September, becomes Bonn/Berlin public affairs director, reporting to European government relations managing director Jeremy Galbraith.