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Michelle Tham leaves PR firm Hill+Knowlton — new structure announced in Malaysia with Justin Then as MD

Michelle Tham

As WPP-owned PR firm Hill+Knowlton announces a new structure in Malaysia, its managing director for Singapore and Malaysia, Michelle Tham has left the company. Mumbrella is awaiting a response from Hill+Knowlton on the leadership of the Singapore operations  

In Malaysia, Hill+Knowlton will be integrating with local agency Lumos PR. The agency will now be known as Hill+Knowlton Lumos, and Lumos PR founder Justin Then will take charge as managing director.

This marks Then’s return to Hill+Knowlton. He left in 2017 after nearly four years as managing director, to found Lumos PR. At the time, Tham who was managing director of the Hill+Knowlton Singapore office was given the additional mandate for Malaysia.

Speaking about Then’s return to Mumbrella, Hill+Knowlton cluster lead for Asia HS Chung clarified that the integration with Lumos PR did not count as an acquisition. She said: “I can confirm Hill+Knowlton did not acquire Lumos, in terms of stake. We strategically found it was the right fit to integrate both teams under Hill+Knowlton Lumos.”

Speaking about how the integration came about, she added: “The Lumos team including Justin Then have joined Hill+Knowlton. We felt it was more than just appointing a managing director.

Justin Then

“It is definitely an integration format. We are integrating teams and the overall operation.” Chung added that this was done keeping in mind Then’s experience and the expansion plans that the agency had.

Speaking about the development, Lars Erik Grønntun, Global President at H+K said: “Bringing our Malaysia office together with Lumos PR is part of H+K’s growth strategy in the ASEAN region.

“Significantly, this latest move strengthens our presence and capabilities in Malaysia, allowing us to better service the growing number of multinationals establishing ASEAN hub offices in the country.

“We are confident in Justin Then’s skills and ability to lead Hill+Knowlton Lumos. With the combined strengths of the two agencies, our Malaysia-based clients will benefit from deep local insight and the global reach of the H+K network.”

Then added: “I am excited and honoured to re-join the H+K family. The integration with H+K will enable LUMOS PR to realise its plan of expanding beyond Malaysia sooner than originally anticipated.

“I am confident that joining forces with H+K will also accelerate our growth trajectory within Malaysia, bolstering our integrated communications solutions and helping our clients venture into burgeoning markets across the region.”

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