SINGAPORE--Watatawa, the ‘stakeholder engagement’ firm launched by former Burson-Marsteller vice-chairman Bill Rylance last year, has beefed up its offering by making three senior-level appointments.

The consultancy has hired veteran Seoul-based Financial Times journalist John Burton to become its regional head of media strategy, ahead of expansion in Korea.

In addition, it has lured two highly-rated PR executives to join its ranks: Former Burson-Marsteller Singapore market leader Allison Lim and ex-FD Singapore chief Laurel Teo, both of whom join as associate partners.

The hires follow steady growth at Watatawa since its launch early last year. In late 2010, the firm won a keenly-contested pitch for APRIL’s global strategic PR account.

Rylance formed the firm after spending two decades at Burson-Marsteller, and has pointedly rejected the traditional network business model. Watatawa features six senior-level founding partners and combines a consulting arm with an investment arm.

“We set up this firm because we really want to work with clients who understand that what organizations must do now is engage and converse with stakeholders in an authentic and compelling manner,” he said. “The days of the corporate monologue are dead and buried. I think the people who are joining us are doing so because they’re excited about our vision and our approach.”