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SEC Newgate names new head of Shanghai as it expands in China

SEC Newgate names new head of Shanghai as it expands in China

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Global strategic communications and advocacy group SEC Newgate has acquired boutique Shanghai-based marketing and communications agency Mars Communications, and appointed Victoria Guo (pictured) as partner and head of Shanghai.  

The acquisition of Mars Communications expands SEC Newgate’s team in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai to more than 20 people comprising full-time professionals and senior advisers, according to James Hill, managing partner, Greater China, SEC Newgate. 

Joining on 1 April 2024, Guo will report to Hill and work alongside mainland China Co-Heads Renfeng Zhao in Beijing and Candise Tang in Hong Kong. 

In her new role, Guo will contribute to the development of SEC Newgate’s business across mainland China, with a strong focus on supporting existing and new clients in Shanghai and southern China, Hill said.

In addition, she will work with SEC Newgate’s offices in Australia, Singapore and globally on supporting leading Chinese brands and corporations as they expand overseas, including advising them on how to mitigate reputation risk.

Guo brings more than 13 years of experience in driving multi-market communications and marketing strategies for clients in the financial, professional services and technology sectors.  

Prior to founding Mars Communications, where she focused on implementing public relations programmes for Fortune 500 companies, Chinese startups and state-owned enterprises, she held senior roles at LEWIS Global Communications and FleishmanHillard in Shanghai and Hong Kong respectively.  

Guo and her team also bring complementary marketing and communication capabilities including research and analytics, traditional media relations, digital and social media strategies, and influencer marketing, according to Hill. These capabilities will reinforce the agency's existing corporate communications, financial communications, and policy and risk intelligence offering in Hong Kong and Beijing. 

Her sector expertise in the financial services, professional services, technology, energy and healthcare sectors is highly complementary to the agency’s existing client base, Hill added.

The agency's expansion in China reflects a growing opportunity to serve international companies that are reengaging in communications in the country and domestic businesses that are looking to expand across Asia and navigate risk in other global markets, according to Brian Tyson, SEC Newgate Group deputy CEO and global head of APAC region.

Tyson added: “Guo will be a great asset to the agency as we pursue more cross-border mandates with leading Chinese and international corporations.”  

Hill said: “Guo and her team bring new ideas, a good roster of clients, and a passion for their work which will prove invaluable to the firm as we consolidate our position in the crucial China market.”  

Meanwhile, Guo added: “I have been impressed by SEC Newgate’s commitment to growth in China and globally, and by their diverse skillset. By integrating Mars Communications into the firm’s strong global network and offer, I am excited to work with the team to deepen and extend our existing client relationships and to serve the next generation of future Chinese business leaders and companies as they embark on international expansion.” 

Under the SEC Newgate brand in mainland China, the company currently works with clients such as Alvarez & Marsal, Champion Petfoods and Universal Robots.

Don't miss: Investcorp invests US$100m in SEC Newgate to accelerate strategies in APAC

Back in July 2023, global alternative investment firm Investcorp has agreed to invest US$100m for a majority stake in SEC Newgate. This aimed to help SEC Newgate accelerate its development strategy, with a focus on expansion in EMEA and the APAC region through both organic growth and M&A.

Since its delisting from the London Stock Exchange in March 2022 and the addition of Three Hills Capital Partners as minority shareholders, SEC Newgate has grown and expanded in the U.S. and Central and South America through transformational acquisitions. As part of this transaction, Nicola Ferraris will join the Board of SEC Newgate.

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