Mark Hass to lead Edelman in China

HONG KONG: Edelman has appointed Mark Hass, former CEO of MS&L as president of its China operations. Hass, who left MS&L in April 2009 and started his own firm, joins Edelman February 1.

HONG KONG: Edelman has appointed Mark Hass, former CEO of MS&L as president of its China operations. Hass, who left MS&L in April 2009 and started his own firm, joins Edelman February 1.

He will oversee a region that brings in $10 million in annual revenues for the global, independent firm and 165 employees for both its Edelman and Pegasus operations in China with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, representing clients like Johnson & Johnson, Nike, Pepsi, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, General Electric, and Shell. Hass reports to Alan VanderMolen, president of Edelman Asia Pacific.

“We have a very simple goal in China,” VanderMolen said in a statement, “to be the market's best and largest full-service public relations firm." Global CEO Richard Edelman added in an e-mail to PRWeek, "Mark has successfully built and sold his own firm, then led the expansion of a regional PR firm into an international and global player, and, like all great plays, I expect his third act to be his best.”

Hass' firm, MH Group Communications, specialized in corporate communications and social media and it will be merged into Edelman's digital practice. Two of his three employees, including former PR News editor, Courtney Barnes, are expected to stay on board.

It was not the first firm Hass started during his PR career. In 2002, MS&L acquired his Michigan-based Hass Associates, which specialized in corporate, crisis, and litigation communications. He was named CEO of MS&L in 2005. Prior to joining the PR industry, Hass worked as a journalist for more than a decade, first with the Miami Herald and then The Detroit News.

"It's such an exciting, entrepreneurial place, and the opportunity to work for Edelman was hard to resist," Hass told PRWeek about his move to China. "It fits with my interests in digital, in emerging markets. I really look forward to building the business there.”

Joining Hass in China February 1 are Shirley Wong-Walker as healthcare practice lead, and James Cook, who will chair the firm's technology practice. Both are previous employees of MS&L. Wong-Walker was a regional director for MS&L healthcare, where she focused on growing the China practice for the last five years. Cook most recently was a VP in the corporate and technology practice for MS&L Canada.

Updated January 8, 2010, 4:27pm

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