Rod Strother resurfaces at Edelman SG holding MD title, Simon Lockyer exits

Edelman Singapore has appointed Rod Strother (pictured) as managing director of integrated brand. In this role, Strother leads a newly-created integrated brand team which will bring together the brand and digital teams in the agency. Strother is tasked to grow and integrate Edelman’s capabilities in both practice areas. He will report to John Kerr, the CEO of Edelman Singapore.

Strother's appointment comes as Simon Lockyer leaves his role of managing director, brand, Singapore. In a statement to Marketing, a spokesperson said: "We thank him for his passion, fostering our brand team of creatives and planners and helping us win significant new mandates during his time. We wish him well for the future." Lockyer took on the role of managing director, brand, Singapore, in April 2019. He was tasked with the continued growth of Edelman Singapore’s brand marketing team. 

Marketing understands that a large part of Lockyer's role will be placed under Strother's duties as he leads the integrated brand team. Integrated brand is a newly-created team for Edelman Singapore, which is designed to bring together the right capabilities that deliver the right balance between channel, creative and content, according to Edelman's spokesperson.

"Demand for digital-first, truly integrated campaigns – crafted through the lens of Earned storytelling – has grown significantly in the past 12 months. We expect this demand to continue trending upwards, as marketing and communications budgets remain focused on driving performance in a post-pandemic environment," the spokesperson said, adding that Strother’s appointment brings "further firepower" in delivering this value and ongoing innovation to the agency's clients. Edelman Singapore currently has a team of 150, for which diversified integrated specialities (such as creative, digital, performance, strategy, data) comprise over 40% of its team. Some of the integrated brand team’s clients include MediaTek, Personal Data Protection Council, STB, Microsoft and Singtel. 

Strother joined Edelman Singapore in September, bringing with him experience from both agency and client sides. Most recently, Strother was the VP, brand and marcomms at StarHub, where he oversaw digital at StarHub’s consumer business group. Prior to that, he built and led the digital and social centre of excellence for Lenovo. His agency experience also includes more than ten years at GREY in Malaysia and BBDO in Singapore.

“Strother’s unparalleled experience in delivering social-by-design campaigns, earned storytelling and world-class innovation makes him an outstanding addition to an incredible team that continues to bring new value and ideas to clients," Kerr said. 

Meanwhile, Edelman also recently appointed Yvonne Koh as head of corporate in Asia Pacific. Koh joins the firm’s APAC regional management team with responsibility for building on Edelman’s corporate specialisms across the region, including digital crisis management, employee engagement, B2B marketing and thought leadership for social media. Koh reports to Dave Samson, global vice chair of corporate affairs.

Additionally, Koh will serve as a member of the global corporate practice team, where she will work closely to retain and recruit talent the agency needs to deliver corporate work for its clients that is "innovative and builds tangible impact". Prior to joining Edelman, Koh spent three years as the Asia Pacific head of communications at PayPal, leading internal and external communications. She also previously led MSLGROUP in Southeast Asia and moved to the United States as senior vice president of its New York office. Most recently, she has held management roles with Singapore-based agencies.

“Koh joins us at a time when the stakes for companies have never been higher and their role in advancing the betterment of society more critical. Koh is a smart operator with a rich mix of client and agency experience. Her leadership of a world-class team in our corporate practice will build strength on strength in support of our clients across the region," Samson said. 

Previously in June, Edelman made headlines for reducing its global workforce by approximately 390 people, and asking for salary reductions from 5% to 20% which will be scaled by employee compensation level. This came three months after Edelman said there will be no job losses due to the COVID-19 situation in March. According to multiple media reports, Richard Edelman, president and CEO of the agency, said it has started to restore the salary reductions, and employees' salaries are expected to be fully restored to pre-COVID level by October. The agency is also now looking to make hires in fast-growing areas such as financial PR and healthcare, media reports added.

Separately, Edelman's Amanda Goh recently left after more than 17 years, last helming the role of vice chair, clients and sectors, Asia Pacific. Prior to that, she was managing director, global client experience, Edelman Asia Pacific for more than a year.

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