Bell Pottinger Asia undergoes name change, formal separation from troubled parent

Bell Pottinger Asia chief executive Ang Shih-Huei (left) and Bell Pottinger Singapore managing director Mark Worthington.
Bell Pottinger Asia chief executive Ang Shih-Huei (left) and Bell Pottinger Singapore managing director Mark Worthington. PHOTOS: BELL POTTINGER ASIA
An office building housing the London headquarters of PR company Bell Pottinger is seen behind an entrance to an underground train station in London.
An office building housing the London headquarters of PR company Bell Pottinger is seen behind an entrance to an underground train station in London. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Just a day after saying it was looking at options including a name change, Bell Pottinger Asia has announced to its clients that it has indeed formally separated from its troubled parent and taken on a new identity.

The company will now be known as Klareco Communications, chief executive Ang Shih-Huei and Singapore managing director Mark Worthington told clients in an e-mail on Friday (Sept 8).

The firm has been reassuring clients in the region over the past week that business is continuing as normal and that its management team remains intact, despite the crisis that has engulfed Bell Pottinger, its London-based parent.

The British public relations agency has been put up for sale after its chief executive and chairman quit, in the wake of a scandal over a racially divisive campaign it ran for a wealthy family linked to South African President Jacob Zuma.

Bell Pottinger Asia, however, was always a separate legal entity that was run independently and autonomously, although Bell Pottinger was a major shareholder, Ms Ang told The Straits Times in an exclusive interview on Thursday (Sept 7)

Now, it is in the midst of formally separating, and the new entity Klareco will be owned by the existing senior management team in Asia.

In the e-mail to clients, Ms Ang and Mr Worthington said: "Our team in Asia will be relaunching under a new ownership structure with a new name, and a renewed vigour and clarity of purpose."

While the British business is expected to go into administration as early as next week, the Asia business is entirely ringfenced and solvent, they noted.

"Our teams are intact, we continue to serve our clients and it is entirely business as usual."

They added that the new name, Klareco, "underlines the diversity and inclusive values of this team, and our aspirations for the future".

Klareco means clarity in Esperanto.