SINGAPORE — Edelman has filled its vacant Asia-Pacific CEO role by hiring Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez to oversee regional operations, PRovoke Media can reveal.

Fernandez, whose departure from Straits Times was announced last week, will oversee Edelman's 21 offices and 1,300+ employees in the region, reporting to global president and chief operating officer Matthew Harrington. 

He replaces Stephen Kehoe, who left Edelman after three years as Asia-Pacific CEO in July. Kehoe's tenure, which came after Jesse Lin's 18-month stint as Edelman Asia-Pacific chief, included considerable restructuring of the firm's senior team in this region, and a return to growth in 2021. 

Fernandez joins the PR industry from the English/Malay/Tamil media group in SPH Media, where he was the editor-in-chief. He simultaneously served as the editor of The Straits Times, which he joined as a political reporter in 1990, before going on to serve as news editor, foreign editor and deputy editor. In 2008, Fernandez left to join Royal Dutch Shell as a global manager for its Future Energy project, returning to the paper in 2012 as its top editor.

“Warren’s deep understanding of the news and media ecosystem – and his experience transforming a news outlet into an integrated multi-media content platform – will be a tremendous value-add to clients and our own insights and capabilities,” said Harrington. “Additionally, our organization will benefit from Warren’s longstanding professional and academic interest in politics and foreign policy amid today’s dynamic geopolitical landscape.”

Fernandez takes charge of an operation that had been led on an interim basis by global vice chairman of corporate affairs Dave Samson since Kehoe's exit. Key senior figures include vice chair Michelle Hutton and more recent appointments such as Greater China president Pully Chau, chief strategy officer Huw Gildon, digital vice chair Jamshed Wadia, Southeast Asia CEO Adrian Warr, Australia CEO Tom Robinson, Singapore chief Julia Wei, Japan president Megan Barstow and Hong Kong head Delicia Tan. 

“Asia is one of the most important markets to Edelman’s future,” said Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman. “We have purposely built a communications advisory firm to help Asian companies step onto the global stage, while also supporting other companies as they seek to expand into the diverse markets of Asia. Our ability to help companies navigate the complexities across this vast and dynamic region have never been more critical to businesses and we are the right firm to help them succeed in doing so."

“I’m very excited to join a firm that I have admired and worked with, as a client and partner, over the years,” added Fernandez. “Edelman continues to drive the conversation on Trust and shape the future of the communications industry. I believe there is enormous potential to continue to expand upon the vital thought leadership, as well as media, brand and strategic communications advice we provide to our clients."