In a move demonstrating its ability to nurture talent from within, PHD APAC today announced the promotion of Chris Stephenson from head of strategy, Australia to the newly created role of regional head of strategy and planning APAC, based in Singapore.

Stewart Gurney will step up to lead Communications planning at PHD Australia as head of communications planning. In a related development, PHD Australia has appointed Joel Pearson as head of digital innovation from PHD’s Global Planning Unit in London, to further bolster PHD Australia’s overall capabilities.

The changes comes on the heels of a successful year for PHD Australia. In 2014 the agency significantly expanded the business with 21 new business wins including Bayer, Priceline, Infiniti and amaysim. It is this rapid growth which has triggered the need for a number of new roles across the agency.

Commenting on the moves, Mark Coad, CEO, PHD Australia said, “Chris has a stellar reputation in our industry and this promotion is recognition of the excellent contribution he has made to PHD Australia. One of his many achievements in Australia has been the successful strategy team he has built and nurtured within the agency. Chris leaves that team in the able hands of Stewart Gurney. Promoted last year to the overall agency Leadership Team, Stewart is an ace talent, who has contributed to PHD’s growth and award winning work. Joining Stewart is yet another exceptional talent, Joel Pearson, who led the planning for the Unilever Dove Beauty Sketches campaign as global innovation director at the PHD Global Strategy Unit in London. The campaign won 19 awards at Cannes, a remarkable achievement.” “The changes reflect our succession planning strategy and ensure that we continue with our winning momentum,” added Mark Coad.

Toby Hack, managing director, PHD Australia said, “While Chris will be missed at PHD Australia, we are extremely excited about the roles that Stewart and Joel will play in PHD’s continued success in Australia. With Stewart and Joel’s leadership and expertise complemented by an experienced, talented and stable senior management team, we expect our business to go from strength to strength.”

“We are delighted that Chris is joining the regional team. He will play a key role in strengthening PHD’s value proposition in the region. Stewart and Joel are fabulous at what they do and we are privileged to have the ability to grow existing talent as well as attract new talent,” said Susana Tsui, APAC CEO, PHD.

The new appointments will be effective in early March.

These promotions have also been published on Mumbrella Asia, Marketing Interactive and Digital Market Asia.