Brussels, 25 January 2012 – Weber Shandwick, one of the world’s leading global public relations firms, today announced the appointments of Laurent Chokoualé Datou as chairman EU Public Affairs and James Watson as director Public Affairs, both to be based in Brussels. Paul Baeyaert, who has been managing the office since November 2009, has been promoted to CEO of Weber Shandwick’s Brussels operation.
Chokoualé Datou will lead Weber Shandwick’s EU public affairs practice in Brussels and co-chair the EU Public Affairs practice across Europe. Previously he was general manager at Edelman The Centre and prior to that, he was vice chairman and managing director at APCO Worldwide for nine years. Chokoualé Datou brings 25 years’ experience in public affairs counsel in a wide range of areas including ICT, FMCG, healthcare & pharmaceuticals, logistics, sports and energy. A qualified lawyer, he has in-depth expertise in antitrust, M&A communications and EU Internal Market issues, as well as the food and agriculture industry. He will start on February 1st, 2012.
Watson is a seasoned public affairs professional, with 12 years’ experience in policy and advocacy in London, Brussels and Africa. He joins Weber Shandwick as director public affairs from IBF International Consulting where he worked for the last six months on government relations. Previously Watson worked for more than three years with Weber Shandwick in Brussels, leading campaigns in the areas of energy, trade, financial services, nutrition and health. Prior to joining Weber Shandwick in February 2008, Watson worked for the European Commission providing policy support for the Ethiopian Government on trade and development issues.
Paul Baeyaert is promoted to CEO of the Brussels operation. Baeyaert joined the firm in 2002 and was appointed managing director, Brussels in November 2009. Since 2008 he has also held the role of chairman of Weber Shandwick’s European Consumer practice.
Commenting on the appointments Colin Byrne, CEO, Weber Shandwick EMEA said, “These are exciting times. Paul has set up our Brussels operations for great performance since he took charge of the office in November 2009. The arrival of Laurent and James heralds a new era for our public affairs practice and confirms the importance of Brussels in our global network.”