HONG KONG--Newgate Communications has named former Kreab Gavin Anderson (KGA) Asia head Richard Barton to lead its expansion into Asia. 

Barton becomes managing partner of the firm's new Hong Kong office, after ending his 12-year career at KGA in acrimonious circumstances last year.

Founded in late 2010 by former senior executives from Citigate, Newgate now operates offices in London, Edinburgh, Brussels and Frankfurt. The firm's Asian expansion is expected to include offices in Beijing and Singapore.

“To join Newgate at the start of the rapid development of its international network is an unique opportunity," said Barton. "As Western companies continue to operate, invest and raise capital in Asia, and Asian businesses rapidly develop their global expansion plans, Newgate is well placed to advise clients across multiple geographies on a broad array of complex communications issues."

Barton is joined at Newgate by former KGA colleague Grace Zhang, who becomes a partner in the Hong Kong office.

“Hong Kong is an important bridgehead to the Greater China and broader Asian markets and marks a significant development for Newgate and its clients," said Newgate chairman Jonathan Clare. "Richard has built a strong reputation for giving top quality client advice and building businesses over his years in Asia and we now look forward to establishing one of the leading networks in the region.”

Barton was one of four senior KGA executives to depart the firm on the same day last year, following an aborted MBO attempt. Former KGA Japan head Deborah Hayden has since joined Edelman.