SINGAPORE--Bob Pickard has been charged with reviving Huntsworth's fortunes in Asia-Pacific, becoming the UK holding group's first CEO in the region amid a major deal with China's leading PR group.

A veteran of Asia's PR industry, Pickard takes on the role after departing his position as Burson-Marsteller's regional CEO last year. The Canadian national spent just under three years at the WPP firm, following a lengthy career with Edelman in Asia.

In addition to overseeing Huntsworth agencies Grayling, Huntsworth Health and Citigate, a major focus for Pickard will be the holding group's new alliance with BlueFocus, which sees the Chinese firm acquire almost 20 percent of the UK company.

In recent years, Huntsworth has struggled to match the growth of rival PR groups in Asia-Pacific. In an interview with the Holmes Report earlier this year, Huntsworth CEO Lord Chadlington said that the BlueFocus deal will aim to transform his company's global offering

“This appointment marks not only an important step in Huntsworth’s development and ambition in Asia-Pacific, but is also the first tangible step in preparing Huntsworth for the opportunities that our strategic alliance with BlueFocus will bring," said Chadlington of Pickard's hire. "Bob has an outstanding track record in the region and I’m confident that he will make a big impact on the scale of our operations and the development of our brands."

Pickard begins his new role in January 2014, reporting to Chadlington. He will continue to be based in Singapore, where he will establish Huntworth’s new regional HQ.

Prior to joining Burson-Marsteller, Pickard rose to the position of North Asia president at Edelman, after overseeing impressive growth in Korea and launching the agency in Japan.