TORONTO — Bob Pickard has resigned from his role as global comms head for Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, saying that as “a patriotic Canadian, this was my only course.”

“The Bank is dominated by Communist Party members and also has one of the most toxic cultures imaginable. I don’t believe that my country’s interests are served by its AIIB membership,” Pickard said in a tweet.

Pickard, who joined AIIB in March 2022, said it was “only after working there for many months that I became aware of how that’s where the true power is concentrated inside the bank — the CCP crowd who operate like a secret police.”

“I believe that my Government should not be a member of this PRC instrument. The reality of power in the bank is that it’s CCP from start to finish,” he said.  Concerned for his security, Pickard didn’t announce his exit from AIIB “until back in the free world,” he wrote from Japan.

Pickard has a long history in Asia, where he spent more than a decade as an agency leader. He returned to head comms for the AIIB, a seven-year-old multilateral development bank, last year, replacing Laurel Ostfield.

In a statement, AIIB said that Pickard's "recent public comments and characterization of the bank are baseless and disappointing." It added that a search was underway for Pickard's successor; until then, communications will be led by an acting director general.

Before joining AIIB, Pickard ran his own Toronto consultancy, Signal Leadership Communication, which focuses on executive communications. That includes working with CEOs thrust into the public spotlight. 

Pickard, who has more than two decades of experience, also had a brief stint as National’s Toronto managing director.  

Before launching Signal served as chairman of Huntsworth Asia-Pacific. Pickard spent 18 months at Huntsworth, which he joined after serving as Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific CEO for three years. Before Burson, Pickard spent more than five years with Edelman in North Asia, launching the firm in Korea before overseeing the sub-region. He relocated to Asia after being one of the founding partners of Canada's Environics Communications