Pickard will also take up the role of CEO effective from 1 February. He will report to Burson-Marsteller global CEO Mark Penn.
Pickard was most recently president of North Asia for Edelman, leading its Korea and Japan operations.
He succeeds current Asia-Pacific CEO Simon Pangrazio, who will leave the agency on 26 February.
Pickard is an international PR professional with two decades of experience. He was the co-founder of PR consultancies in the United States, Japan, Korea and Canada.
He has provided senior advice on a wide range of communications issues to clients including AstraZeneca, British Airways, De Beers and GlaxoSmithKline.
‘Bob's track record of success, both in Asia and during the course of his career, is remarkable,' said Penn. ‘He is a proven leader as well as a world-class client counsellor. He will join a growing operation that I am sure will benefit from his experience.'
Pickard will lead a 19-office regional operation spanning seven countries and employing more than 500 professionals. The firm also has 11 affiliate offices across eight countries in the region.
Pickard first came to Asia after a 15-year career in North American PR. He joined Edelman as MD for Korea in 2002, and opened the firm's Tokyo office three years later.
Prior to joining Edelman, Pickard was executive vice-president of Environics Communications, a Canadian PR firm that he co-founded in 1994.
Before then, Pickard was a vice-president at Hill & Knowlton Canada, where he led the firm's technology practice.
Prior to working in the public relations industry, Pickard was active in public affairs and served as a political aide to several Canadian federal Cabinet ministers.