President, China and Chair, Creativity and Innovationdburns@webershandwick.com
Darren Burns is spearheading Weber Shandwick China’s growth and transformation into one of the region’s most exciting and forward thinking integrated communications agencies. His passion for nurturing creativity, driving innovation and delivering results-oriented campaigns has helped Weber Shandwick win no less than 10 “Agency of the Year” awards over the past three years, including Mumbrella Asia’s Greater China PR Agency of the Year 2015 & 2016, The Holmes Report’s Greater China Consultancy of the Year 2015, Campaign Asia Pacific’s Greater China PR Agency of the Year for 2015 & 2014, and PRWeek Greater China Agency of the Year 2014.
In 2016, he was honoured by The Holmes Report’s in its inaugural Innovator 25 list in Asia. He was also named Digital Marketing Expert of the Year at the 2016 Digital China Annual Awards and became the first agency executive to be Australia China Alumni for Corporate Achievement in 2015. In 2014, he was named Most Influential PR Leader at the 2014 China Business & Media Leaders’ Forum of the Year.
A strategic communications veteran of 18 years, Darren’s breadth of experience extends from launching new companies and initiatives to guiding brands and industry leaders through a range of high profile, mission-critical situations, including food safety, product recalls and labor relations issues.
Darren has also solidified Weber Shandwick’s commitment to contributing to local communities and charitable causes. Through its “Access to Opportunity” platform launched in 2014, the agency is championing inclusivity and equal opportunities in China, working with the China AIDS Walk, Chunhui Children, WorkforLGBT and Save the Children on various initiatives. These efforts have helped place the agency at the top of R3’s 2015 China PR Scope agency ranking for “strength in corporate social responsibility” and earned Save the Children the Gold Award for Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year (China, Japan and Korea) at the 2015 International Business Awards.
Burns is a visiting lecturer at China’s prestigious Fudan University, where he co-delivers a course on strategic media communications. He is also a communications awards industry judge.
Prior to being appointed President in 2014, Burns had helmed Weber Shandwick China as Managing Director since 2012. He joined as Managing Director of the firm’s Shanghai and Guangzhou operations 2006. Before that, Burns was Managing Director of GolinHarris in Taiwan. He started his career in Asia as a journalist, marketing consultant and business communications instructor in 1996.
Burns holds two undergraduate degrees in international business management and Asian studies from Griffith University in Australia, and completed executive education at Harvard Business School. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Burns is a regular industry commentator in Chinese and regional press.