BEIJING: Fleishman-Hillard has hired veteran Chinese public affairs specialist Li Hong from rival Ogilvy to run its Mainland China operations.
The signing of Hong marks the first time Fleishman has had a native of China in charge of its China operations.
"We see that as an important step forward, said Bill Anderson, a regional president and senior partner at Fleishman in St. Louis
Hong's extensive background includes work for the Chinese government.
In 1986, he served as cultural vice consul of the Chinese Consulate-General in New York, arranging cultural exchanges between the two countries.
"He has a good understanding of how Chinese business operates, and also knows how we do things in the West, Anderson said.
Hong had been managing director for Ogilvy & Mather Advertising and Ogilvy PR in Beijing before his move to Fleishman. As managing director for Fleishman in China, he will report to Lynne Anne Stevenson, regional director and senior partner. Stevenson suggested going after him for the managing director spot, Anderson said.
"We're looking to beef up our public affairs capabilities in Asia-Pacific, Anderson explained. "Li Hong is going to be a really central person in our Asia-Pacific network."
Fleishman expects to see growth this year in China. "China is one of the few Asian economies that's growing, Anderson pointed out.
Fleishman's China operation is known as Fleishman-Hillard Link, and is a joint venture between Fleishman and the China International Public Relations Association. Chai Zemin, the first Chinese ambassador to the US, is chairman of the joint venture.