‘Game changer’ is an overused term. But I’m going to use it anyway. Rarely do PR agencies succeed in attracting senior mainstream digital talent (outside of the US at least). Most ‘digital’ experts at PR agencies are social media professionals with a bit of analytics thrown in. That’s why we made the acquisition of Design Royale two weeks ago in Australia (and Gosub in Germany and Spook in London) and that’s why we have tricked Gavin into joining us. For the last few years he has run Profero in Asia Pacific, a big independent digital agency with all the strategy, build, creative and technology capabilities that come with those organisations.
His mission is build all that out for us in Asia-Pacific and to meld it seamlessly with our existing social and digital teams and of course our mainstream PR capability. He’s done it before and he will do it again, but this time with the added power of an integrated PR offering and an holistic Public Engagement methodology. The future (and present) of PR is digital and the future of digital is PR thinking. Now Gavin’s here we aim to have both.
Below is the press release and a ‘Gavinographic’.
Edelman Hires Gavin Coombes to Lead Digital Practice in Asia Pacific
Regional Digital Practice President to Help Meet Rapidly Growing Client Demand
SINGAPORE, December 5, 2012 – Edelman has enhanced its digital offering today with the appointment of Gavin Coombes as regional Digital practice president, Asia Pacific. Coombes joins Edelman with more than 20 years of experience in marketing communications in the region.
In his new role, Coombes will oversee cross-practice and inter-office cooperation on digital work. He will work with local practice leaders to provide counsel on client servicing, develop tools for practice management, and create intellectual capital. The appointment is effective immediately.
“Gavin has one of the best reputations in the industry in APAC and has a strong track record of building businesses of scale that are able to serve client needs through specialization,” said David Brain, president and CEO of Edelman Asia Pacific. “We are delighted to welcome him to our team to lead our digital offering in the region and to meet the rapidly growing demand for digital engagement from our clients.”
Coombes has worked across public relations, public affairs, integrated marketing services, brand identity/system design and digital marketing. In these roles he’s led integrated projects for Intel, Microsoft and Dell, branding projects for the Singapore and Malaysian governments and digital assignments for Diageo and Unilever, among many others.
“We are thrilled that Gavin is joining the Edelman Digital team – the world’s largest social digital agency with 800-plus employees – to enhance our capabilities in a region where our practice is experiencing tremendous growth,” said Kevin King, global chair of Edelman’s Digital practice. Coombes will report directly to Brain and King.
“I am very excited to be joining the world’s largest public relations firm and to work with David Brain, who I’ve known for many years, and his excellent regional team,” said Coombes. “I’m also looking forward to getting back to my first language, public relations, after over a decade working across almost every other advertising and marketing discipline.”
“The experience I’ve accumulated in these fields will help Edelman’s clients expand their reach into emerging communications and technologies, and I plan to make Edelman Digital the leading strategic agency and content creator for clients across the wider Asia-Pacific region.”
Coombes trained as a journalist and started his career in public affairs in his native New Zealand before moving to Singapore in 1998 as corporate communications director, South-East Asia for Visa International. From there he moved to Hong Kong in 2000 and joined Euro RSCG Worldwide as their digital lead across Greater China before returning to Singapore in 2005 as the company’s EVP for all marketing services across Asia Pacific. In 2007 he joined FutureBrand as Asia-Pacific CEO and in 2010 he joined Profero in the same capacity where he stayed until joining Edelman.
Edelman is the world’s largest public relations firm, with 66 offices and more than 4,500 employees worldwide, as well as affiliates in more than 30 cities. Edelman was named Advertising Age’s top-ranked PR firm of the decade in 2009 and one of its “A-List Agencies” in both 2010 and 2011; Adweek’s “2011 PR Agency of the Year;” PRWeek’s “2011 Large PR Agency of the Year;” and The Holmes Report’s “2011 Global Agency of the Year” and its 2011 “North American Large Agency of the Year.” Edelman was named one of the “Best Places to Work” by Advertising Age in 2010 and 2012 and among Glassdoor’s top five “2011 Best Places to Work.” Edelman owns specialty firms Edelman Berland (research), Blue (advertising), A&R Edelman (technology), BioScience Communications (medical communications), and agencies Edelman Significa (Brazil), and Pegasus (China). Visit http://www.edelman.com for more information.