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W. PR Agency Head of the Year

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Glenn Osaki, MSLGROUP Asia

Osaki relocated from Los Angeles to Shanghai in 2005 to take the helm of what was then a fledgling firm with only three small offices and 20 staff. Despite its late entry into Asia, the firm has thrived under Osaki’s leadership, expanding to 38 locations, 1,675 employees and annual revenues 80 times more than when it started. Osaki turned a potential weakness of being a late entrant into a distinct advantage by acquiring best-in-class local agencies and integrating them into a cohesive whole. While its competitors often set up business by importing global talent, Osaki hired local talent to address fast-changing local market conditions and supported them with the training resources of a global firm. Celebrating his 25th anniversary with the firm in 2012, Osaki worked to achieve a 100 per cent retention rate of top 30 clients, and 30 per cent organic revenue growth for the third consecutive year. A key initiative was the launch of the Social Hive Index (SHI), a proprietary approach for benchmarking a client’s social engagement level against peers. Last year, a financial practice was also built for investor relations and M&A communications in Asia, while top senior talent from Europe and the Middle East was moved to Greater China. He continued his work in academic circles with regular lectures and presentations about the PR industry to universities and business associations, including the American Chambers of Commerce in Taipei and Jakarta. His expertise can also be seen in printed form — he wrote a chapter for Anthony Rose’ top-selling business book, Daddy’s Logic, about lessons in crisis communications from two clients he counselled during the tragic 2008 melamine milk scandal in China.