Cohn & Wolfe appoints Angelina Ong as APAC president

Ong, formerly regional managing director at Burson-Marsteller, joins in Singapore to further the agency's already aggressive growth in the region.

Angelina Ong
Angelina Ong

SINGAPORE - Cohn & Wolfe has named Angelina Ong, most recently regional managing director at Burson-Marsteller, as Asia-Pacific president based in Singapore.

Ong, who left Burson-Marsteller in 2014 for personal reasons, will report to Donna Imperato, CEO of Cohn & Wolfe Group. She will focus on client service, new business, talent development and cross-market collaboration, according to the agency.

Cohn & Wolfe's commitment to growth in Asia-Pacific was a primary factor in taking the position, Ong told PRWeek, adding that Imperato's conviction about the region left her "blown away".

The agency has 10 APAC offices—up from just two less than three years ago. In 2014 new offices in the Philippines and Thailand joined existing ones in China (Beijing and Shanghai), India (Mumbai and Delhi), Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. In recent months the company also hired Harriet Gaywood as managing director for mainland China, and Lyle Closs as APAC COO.

Ong said the footprint across the region will continue to grow, but declined to specify any particular locations for expansion.

Ong has more than 18 years of experience. Prior to her two years at Burson-Marsteller, she served as APAC head of B2C marketing at Yahoo and PR director at De Beers in China. Earlier in her career she spent several years with Edelman and Weber Shandwick. She has worked with brands including Coca-Cola, P&G, Philips, British Airways, Wrigley, Pfizer, GSK, Bayer, HSBC, 3M and Bosch.

Having worked at both holding-company properties and independents, Ong described Cohn & Wolfe as existing in a sweet spot where it enjoys the support, resources and knowledge of WPP but also retains a rare, entrepreneurial spirit.

"All the consultants, you can see they have fire in the belly," she said.

That said, one of her priorities will be articulating a "refined" positioning for the agency in Asia. While not willing to spell that out in detail yet, Ong mentioned the need to go beyond talking about digital to talking about a truly integrated offering. "I know many agencies have said that," she admitted. "But how many have actually proven that?"

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