SINGAPORE--Damon Jones, who has spent the past three years heading global communications for Gillette, is to move to Singapore to take on a senior communications role at parent company Procter & Gamble.

Jones becomes director of communications for ASEAN, Australasia, India, Japan and Korea. He succeeds Erik Jonnaert, who is retiring from the company on 1 October, after more than 27 years of service.

Prior to becoming external relations director for global grooming and shave care, Jones headed external relations for P&G in UK and Ireland. The American has spent 15 years with the FMCG giant, in a variety of communications roles, and is also known for his involvement with the Democratic party.

Jones hit the headlines last year when when he reviewed Gillette’s $4m PR agency relationship, eventually deciding to drop 20-year incumbent Porter-Novelli in favour of Ketchum. In an interview with the Holmes Report shortly after that process, he noted that the PR industry still struggles with the crucial challenge of becoming "brand strategists".

He will take on dual leadership of P&G’s Asia-Pacific communications function, in conjunction with Rene Co, director of communications for Greater China. Co will continue to report to Greater China president Shannan Stevenson, while Jones will report to Asia president Hatsunori Kiriyama.

The reshuffle follows a major restructuring of P&G’s communications department (previously known as “external relations”), which now reports directly to global brand building officer Marc Pritchard.

“Damon Jones will bring strong leadership to communications in Asia,” said Pritchard in an internal announcement. “He has had great breadth of experience during his 15 years with P&G including experience in Western Europe and US, as well as across a range of businesses in fabric and home care, and beauty and grooming. Damon has been the director of external relations for global shave care and Braun for the last three years, delivering best-in-class results on a range of brand and corporate initiatives.”

Pritchard paid tribute to Jonnaert’s long tenure with the company, which began as general counsel at P&G Belgium. After establishing the public affairs function in Belgium, Jonnaert created the company’s European government relations unit, before launching and leading the external relations department as vice president, Europe.

Four years ago, Jonnaert moved to Asia to head external relations. “He will leave a lasting legacy with many business accomplishments and capability and system improvements,” said Pritchard. “As Asia leader for external relations Erik brought scale to the Asia organization, starting up an Asia leadership team for the function and a consistent regional action plan, along with focused and disciplined capability building.”

Among Jonnaert’s other accomplishments in Asia include streamlining P&G’s agency capabilities; pioneering a dedicated employee engagement practice; establishing a corporate PR platform to broaden the company’s profile; instituting a system to identify issues and prevent crises; and, leading a global redesign that integrates regulatory affairs into P&G’s R&D department, an approach he first piloted in China.

Jonnaert will return to Europe to pursue new career opportunities.

“Damon and Rene will partner to manage the function across Asia, driving scaled processes, and one talent development and capability system for communications,” said Pritchard. “Their joint leadership for communications Asia will combine local expertise and continuity with new insights and global perspective bringing communications in Asia to the next level.”