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RF Kyodo consolidates leadership with two key hires
Norihide Imai and Tashiro Chieko join RF Kyodo


Shanghai. RF Kyodo, sister company of Ruder Finn Asia, has hired Mr Norihide Imai as Deputy General Manager and Ms Tashiro Chieko as Account Director. The hires reflect the consolidation of operations after Ruder Finn acquired the China business of Kyodo Public Relations in mid-2015, including its operations in Beijing and Shanghai. Kyodo PR is one of Japan’s oldest and largest independent consultancies and the first PR agency to be listed on JASDAQ, the Japanese securities exchange.

Assisted by the management teams in Beijing and Shanghai, Norihide Imai will be responsible for daily operations, business development and new product offerings. Imai will be based in Shanghai and will report to General Manager, Jefferson Hou.

With 35 years’ experience in Japan’s Dentsu Inc., Imai has worked in several of the company’s divisions in a number of senior positions. He was seconded to Thailand as Vice President of Dentsu for three years and to Shanghai as Dentsu China General Manager of account management for four years. Experience in Dentsu included consumer products, lifestyle and government affairs. Imai gained invaluable experience in developing comprehensive integrated programs for Japanese brands in different markets in the region. Prior to entering the advertising industry, Imai played baseball in the Tokyo Big 6 Baseball League.

Chieko brings 16 years’ Advertising and PR experience to RF Kyodo and will be based in Shanghai. In 2015, Chieko came to China as PR director for a Japanese PR agency in Shanghai, to conduct crisis media training, consumer PR programs, and consumer product PR promotions. She has worked in a global advertising agency as a consumer marketing and PR team leader, providing PR planning and execution for FMCG in the Japan, Hong Kong, China, USA, and UK markets. Prior to that, Chieko was a US federal officer for the US Export Federation in charge of BSE crisis management for American beef. She was responsible for communicating to Japanese consumers about the safety of imported foods. Chieko’s experience includes working with Standard Chartered Bank, Bank of America, Mitsubishi Tokyo UJF Bank and Tiffany & Co. Chieko started her career as a reporter and editor for an English newspaper and magazine. She went on to work for NHK, Japan’s national broadcaster, as a program researcher.

“Imai, with his in-depth expertise and diverse experience in both Japan and abroad, is an invaluable addition to our key management team. Chieko brings impressive international experience and a diverse skill set, which will help us nurture our clients,” Jefferson Hou, General Manager, RF Kyodo, said. “With the consolidation of RF Kyodo operations and new staff, we are set for future expansion.”

Norihide Imai said: “It is my great pleasure to join RF Kyodo, and I am delighted to be able to work with our current and future clients. RF Kyodo is such a multi-cultural company that we could be called a hybrid company. China is still going through big changes, even with its economic growth slowing at 6-7%. I look forward to helping innovate the PR industry in China with sharp, smart, speedy and strategic thinking. And with big smiles. RF Kyodo believes in ‘PR Innovation for Total Communication’.”

Kyodo PR first established Kyodo China in Shanghai in 2006 and opened another office in Beijing the same year. Ruder Finn and Kyodo PR have worked together on global and regional projects for over a decade until 2011 when the two agencies signed an agreement to use each other’s specialized expertise and long-term experience to establish a global network and trans-regional cooperation. RF Kyodo, with offices in both Shanghai and Beijing, leverages the strengths and expertise of two of the largest independent PR companies in Asia to create a flow of mutual business referrals in the two largest Asian markets. RF Kyodo services Japanese companies and organizations in China, which includes some of the biggest corporations in Japan, in areas ranging from Marketing Communication and product support to Crisis Management. This strategic partnership combines high quality services with market expertise and deep insights in the world’s number two economy.