HONG KONG—Matt Stafford is departing Burson-Marsteller after less than a year as China CEO, for a senior position in Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's office.

Stafford was named China CEO last year as part of a new Asia-Pacific leadership team at the agency. He leaves after more than six years with Burson, where he led the Hong Kong office and the agency's global Huawei relationship, before assuming regional duties.

Stafford is replaced as China CEO by Beijing market leader Daisy King. The 14-year Burson veteran will extend her oversight to include Burson offices in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Shenzhen, 

In addition, Burson has promoted Korea head Margaret Key to the newly-created position of Asia-Pacific chief operating officer. Key will also serve as interim Hong Kong market leader until Stafford's successor is found.

The promotions for Key and King reflect their recent performance. Burson-Marsteller Korea has doubled in size since Key's appointment in 2010, while King, alongside Stafford, has helped to stabilise and grow a China operation that had declined in recent years.

Last week, the Holmes Report revealed that Burson had secured corporate PR duties for Microsoft in China, one of a number of seven-figure accounts that the agency has won in the country over the past year.

Both Key and King will continue to report to Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific regional chair Pat Ford. 

“It’s clear that Margaret is one of the public relations industry’s rising stars, and her elevation from Korea market leader to regional COO reflects our highest confidence in her proven leadership, especially in the all-important areas of talent development and client service," said Ford.