Bob became Chairman of Huntsworth plc in Asia-Pacific during 2014 after Blue Focus of China took a 20% stake in the London-traded group of communications marketing brands.
He served Burson-Marsteller as its Asia-Pacific CEO where, for three years until 2013, he led and expanded a 38 office network of owned and affiliate operations across 16 regional markets with more than 1,000 employees. At B-M, Bob fostered the creation of the global firm’s Beijing-based energy practice and was a catalyst for the development of its portfolio of Asian multinational clients. He opened new operations in Shenzhen, China; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and, he put together a joint venture in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam with a media content provider.
From 2002 until fiscal year 2009, as Edelman’s Managing Director for Korea and later as North Asia President, Bob grew the firm’s business in the region ten times larger. This included leading the Seoul operation to record growth as Edelman’s largest market in Asia-Pacific (named ‘Consultancy of the Year’ at the PR Week Awards in 2004 and two years in a row the firm’s ‘Office of the Year’), as well as market entry into Japan, establishing the firm’s Tokyo office in a 51-49 partnership with the Edelman family.
Bob first came to Asia after a successful 12-year career in North American public relations. He was Executive Vice President of Environics Communications (now Proof), a leading Canadian PR consultancy that he co-founded in 1994. In 1996, he opened the firm’s New York-area office and in so doing, established the first Canadian-owned PR agency in the US market. Before then, he was a Vice President at Hill & Knowlton Canada, where he founded the firm’s technology practice and captained international communications projects, including global media relations for Canada’s transfer of energy technology to the Republic of Korea.
A member of the Canadian delegation to the UN Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro Brazil in 1992, Bob has a long record of involvement in sustainability issues and has been a speaker on corporate social responsibility in Asia at APEC, Economist Intelligence Unit, and World Economic Forum conferences.
Prior to working in the PR industry, Bob was active in public affairs and served as a political aide to Canadian federal Cabinet ministers, including the country’s 16th Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.
A graduate of Canada’s Queen’s University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Studies, Bob frequently delivers campus lectures and provides commentary on topics such as climate change communications, PR disasters, the psychology of persuasion, the latest trends in social media as well as marketing for the next generation of multinationals. He also regularly comments in the media, e.g. BBC World News, Bloomberg, Channel News Asia, China Central Television News, CNBC, CTV News, The Globe and Mail, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, etc.
Bob is an Executive Fellow for the Center for the Future of Organization (CFFO), an independent think tank at the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University in California. He serves on the Board of The Glenn Gould Foundation, a charitable organization with the mission of honouring Gould’s spirit and legacy by celebrating brilliance, promoting creativity and transforming lives through music and the arts. He is also a member of the International Advisory Board of India’s Genesis Foundation.