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Edward is the managing partner of Navigate Response Asia. As a communications advisor in the shipping sector, he has led crisis response for a large number of international clients ranging from major shipping casualties to international incidents involving reputational issues for owners and managers.
Prior to founding Navigate Response Asia, Edward was based first in London and then in both Singapore and Hong Kong with regional Asia-Pacific responsibility for Lloyd’s List and its associated periodicals working first as a reporter and then as the regional publisher.
He held various positions on Lloyd’s List including News Editor, Energy Correspondent, Insurance Editor and Editorial Director in charge of the paper’s editorial output from the Asia region. He was responsible for launching Lloyd’s List’s regular business coverage of shipping lines and ports from the Asia Pacific region when he was tasked with opening the Lloyd’s List office in Singapore in 1994. As a senior group Editor, he also launched Maritime Asia Today, Asia’s first ever on-line subscription based daily maritime news bulletin.
During 20 years as a reporter he wrote about just about every major shipping casualty around the world ranging from the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster, the Exxon Valdez, Piper Alpha, the Erika and many others.
In his work as a crisis manager and corporate communications consultant for the maritime sector, he currently handles a wide variety of shipping and maritime public relations accounts ranging from ship managers, owners, marine insurers and Maritime Event Organisers. Via his work with various insurance industry clients, he has advised on the role of the media in crisis situations from a risk management perspective. He is a regular speaker at various maritime transport and risk management conferences on the subject of media handling and crisis management.
Dustin oversees the operations of our global network of 45 offices and leads our crisis communication team which responds to 200+ incidents a year. He is responsible for our innovation and digitization initiatives, including the development of our rapidly expanding digital training services.
A trusted advisor, Dustin specialises in communications, reputation management and organisational leadership especially in times of challenge or crisis.
Dustin has a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree (BASc) specialising in leadership and political rhetoric and a master’s degree in communications (MSc) from the London School of Economics (LSE). While at LSE he developed computer models for tracking reputation in the online and print media.
Dustin is an award-winning speaker and a passionate advocate for B2B companies engaging with their ultimate stakeholders – the public.
Deputy Managing Director
Niki is a Chartered Public Relations Practitioner and accomplished corporate communication leader with over 15 years of international management experience in the marine and energy sectors, primarily leading on strategic communications and corporate reputation programmes.
Niki’s previous experience includes working with the world’s largest shipping news service and multi-national organisations including Inmarsat, ABB and Shell. She also headed-up the communication function for the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) within the Greater China market, and on a global scale, for Lloyd’s Register’s (LR) marine and offshore business.
Niki is now based in London. She holds a Post-graduate Diploma in Digital Business and an MBA from Hult International Business School. Niki is also a regular judge for the CIPR Excellence Awards – the most prestigious awards in the public relations industry.
Sean M Fitzgerald
Sean is Managing Director of Global Crisis Communications for Witt O’Brien’s and leads Navigate Response client service in North America. While his current emphasis is on supporting the communications needs of maritime and energy sector clients, he has provided strategic and crisis communications support to Fortune 100 firms around the world for more than 20 years.
Most recently, Sean has managed communications responses to a client whose super tanker collided with a small fishing vessel in the Houston Ship Channel, a natural gas well failure in the Gulf of Mexico, a container ship fire off the coast of California and numerous other incidents, accidents and force majeure situations occurring in North American waters, as well as corporate crises in the maritime and energy industries.
His crisis experience has covered a wide range of industry sectors including automotive, transportation, consumer products, food and commodities, retail, manufacturing and financial services.
Sean’s engagement with these diverse industries enables him to bring the most effective and current consultation and strategies to clients experiencing crises that offer the potential of significantly damaging a company’s reputation or disrupting its operations if external and/ or internal communications are mishandled.
Having served as a corporate spokesperson for several of the world’s most recognised brands, he is acutely aware of the pressures and challenges responsible companies and their designated representatives face in today’s traditional and social media environment. That experience is the basis for the advice and training offered to his clients as he prepares them for media interactions, works to craft the best possible crisis communications strategies, and partners with clients to protect and repair their reputations before, during and after serious incidents.
Crisis Response Manager
Jonathan started his media career in TV news. He has many years of cross-sector media and crisis communications experience – including the relief and development sector, handling disaster response issues.
Jonathan brings extensive experience from the front lines of some of the largest stories of the last two decades – including Afghanistan’s conflict, Zimbabwe’s economic collapse and meeting survivors days after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines.
As a senior media advisor, Jonathan has handled the crisis communications, supporting clients through a range of shipping incidents including: vessels attacked in the Gulf of Oman and piracy attacks off West Africa.
He is also an experienced media trainer.
Director of Crisis Response, Asia
Based in the Singapore office, Casey provides crisis communication and reputation management counsel for maritime incidents and delivers crisis media training to our clients.
He advises clients across a broad spectrum of incidents including MARPOL violations, geopolitical risks, kidnap for ransom and hijacking, collisions, contraband, etc..
Casey read political science for his Bachelor of Arts degree at the National University of Singapore and received his Master’s degree in Communication Management from the Singapore Management University.
Casey speaks English, Chinese and Teochew.
Crisis Response Manager
As a Crisis Response Manager, Kyle manages the media response for numerous shipping incidents and delivers crisis media training for our clients.
Prior to joining Navigate Response, Kyle worked within several academic and non-governmental organizations to conduct research on international maritime policy-making. He also has experience with the British Columbia Wildfire Service, where he worked within crisis communications channels as a provincial reporting officer.
Kyle has a Bachelor’s degree in Arts and Science (BA&Sc), a Master’s degree in Coastal and Marine and Management (MSc.) and a Master’s degree in International Law (LLM). While pursuing his LLM, Kyle investigated legal strategies for mitigating international fisheries conflicts.
Crisis Response Manager
Janni is an experienced communications professional, specialising in corporate reputation, crisis management, and stakeholder engagement. As a Crisis Response Manager, she supports our clients with their crisis communications and delivers media training.
Prior to joining Navigate Response, Janni worked in corporate affairs across complex and heavily regulated industries, including logistics, utilities, energy, and environmental services. She is passionate about reputation capital and the role it plays in business resilience and continuity.
Janni graduated with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in business administration from Stockholm University, and a Master of Arts (MA) specialising in corporate communications, marketing and public relations, from the University of Leeds. While pursuing her MA, Janni researched the crisis management of data breach incidents and their impact on reputation. She has also studied in Finland and Indonesia, and has professional qualifications in crisis and leadership from MIT and the University of Oxford.
Crisis Response Manager
Jasmine is a Crisis Response Manager based in the Singapore office. She manages the crisis media response for maritime incidents, and delivers crisis media training for our clients.
Prior to joining Navigate Response, Jasmine worked in law-enforcement, and is an experienced investigator and incident manager. She has worked on numerous sensitive cases, several of which garnered significant local media attention, including serious hurt offences, inter-jurisdictional incidents, and medical malpractice, amongst others.
Jasmine has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the Singapore Management University, and has her Senior Officer and Senior Investigation Officer certificates from the Singapore Police Force.
Jasmine speaks English and Chinese.
Crisis Response Manager
Isaac is a Crisis Communications Associate for Witt O’Brien’s and is part of our Navigate Response network in North America. Isaac manages media strategy and response for clients in crisis and delivers crisis media training and coaching.
Prior to joining Navigate Response, Isaac worked in the law enforcement sector as both a Public Information Officer, handling media management, community outreach, and crisis response, and as a crime investigator. He is highly experienced in meeting challenges of responding to emergency situations and the subsequent engagement with both news and social media. In addition, Isaac has experience in managing communication in a crisis in maritime, energy, and other sectors.
Isaac is a U.S. Airforce veteran. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in communications from Johns Hopkins University. Additionally, Isaac possesses law enforcement certifications in both Patrol and Detention and serves as a law enforcement high liability instructor specialising in the use of force.
Katerina Skourtanioti is one of the founders and the Managing Director of VENLYS Maritime Specialisation Services. She is a graduate of Athens University of Economics and Business Administration and she continued her studies abroad. She holds an MBA and she has also a master in Human Recourses Management from Athens University of Economics and Business Administration, in which she developed expertise regarding the Human Performance and the Human Element.
As a strategic business consultant, she has more than 10 years of experience in the maritime industry with special focus on Human Element and Soft Skills, human Performance and Safety Culture strategies. Katerina has participated, as a speaker, in various international conferences with topics relevant to her expertise and has also publishes articles related to shipping and training, in various shipping magazines and sites.
Member of the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA). Additional she is a member of The International Propeller Club of the United States, International Port of Piraeus. Katerina is a proud mother of 2 boys.
Katerina is committed to the implementation of safety intelligence in the maritime industry and the enhancement of the safety concept.
Sam Sacco has held numerous senior level communications positions with major global brands including Hill & Knowlton and the World Bank.
For the last two decades Sam has specialised in public affairs and strategic communications. He helps prepare clients for crisis or other volatile situations, including environmental incidents, legal actions, journalistic attacks, product recalls and other events that could damage the reputation and image of an organisation.
His approach to reputation and crisis management includes identifying and addressing organisational exposures; preparing strategic management plans; implementing those plans, and, conducting training programs to build and maintain an effective communications capability.
Sam has also developed crisis management and emergency response for a number of major companies, including Matson Maritime Corporation, Foss Maritime Company, Aera Energy LLC (a jointly owned subsidiary of Shell Oil and Exxon Mobil Oil Companies), and BP America.
He also provides crisis management public affairs counsel to a number of other clients in the maritime industry, including Marine Resources Group, THUMS, and the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA).
Sam has served as the public information/crisis media officer on a number of oil spill responses for O’Brien’s Remediation Management, BP, Matson Navigation, Foss Maritime, Crowley Marine Services, K-Sea Transportation and Hanjin Shipping, among many others.
Sam works closely with the US Coast Guard and has worked on many of the most significant maritime incidents in the US over the last decade.
Former journalist for Le Figaro and former financial analyst, Guillaume founded Corpcom after 10 years as head of the “crises and restructuring” department at FTI Strategic Communications.
Guillaume has worked with and advised leading French shipping companies and is recognised and an expert on media management in France.
Guillaume’s knowledge of economics, shipping and the mass media from his time as a journalist uniquely positions him to communicate with the press and the public and effectively preserve the image of his clients.
Robin Middel studied at the Faculty of Communications and Journalism in Utrecht, and then went on to serve for nearly twenty years in the Royal Netherlands Navy holding numerous communications roles.
From 2004 to 2011 Robin was senior communications advisor and spokesman for the Chief of Defence (Generals Dick Berlijn and Peter van Uhm). From 2011 to 2014 Robin has served as the head of Communications at the Royal Netherlands Navy.
From 2014 Robin is the managing partner of Havana Blue, part of the Havana Orange Group, which provides specialised communications support for maritime companies in the Netherlands. At this moment Robin is also ad interim spokesperson for the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security as a coordinating spokesperson for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fran began his professional career in 1997 as head of department for Edelman Crisis Communication.
In this role Fran worked with multinational clients including Repsol YPF, Air Liquide, Cepsa and Ferrovial.
Subsequently, he took over the Department of Crisis Communications, Public Affairs and Environment of Llorente & Cuenca. Between 2003 and 2008 he developed his career as director of the Madrid office of the Central Agency for Crisis Management and Communication (CGC) where he worked for the Ministry of Development, Madrid, Renfe, ADIF, Ferrocarriles de la Generalitat de Catalonia and Barcelona City Council.
In 2008 he founded Agencia Spider to provide a new form of communication consultancy that is closer to the new needs of companies.
Fran also serves as a professor in the Master of Advertising and Communication (MPC), Master of ESIC, and Institutional and Political Communication program at Carlos III University where he teaches modules on Crisis Communication.
Rolf A. Vestvik has worked with international issues and foreign policy throughout his career. He also specialises in political communication, campaigns and lobby-work, with additional experience in crisis management.
Rolf has served as a diplomat in the Norwegian Foreign Service, engaged with the Middle East, the Balkans, Nordic issues and development policy.
From 2005 Rolf was the Advocacy and Communications Director at Norwegian Refugee Council, Norway’s largest humanitarian organisation, where he led the global work on government relations and communications.
Rolf has held a number of positions in the field of international politics, including as the Deputy Chairman of the Board of Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, member of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry’s Security Policy Advisory Council and a board member of the International Council for Voluntary Organizations.
Rogério graduated with a degree in Journalism and has an MBA in Corporate Communications. He became Managing Partner of Race Comunicação in 2005. In 2016 and 2017, he was listed for PR Week Global Power Book as one of 350 worldwide most influential people in corporate communication.
Rogério works with clients and the press to ensure the best possible coverage for the companies he works with both at home in Brazil and internationally in countries including all Latin American countries. Rogério is also responsible for the media training of all clients.
Michael Breen, Founder and CEO of Insight Communications Consultants, lived in Korea for more than 30 years, working first as a journalist for The Guardian, The Times and The Washington Times before becoming a public relations consultant in 1994 with the Seoul office of the Burson Marsteller PR agency.
He founded Insight Communications in 2004. He is the author of two books on Korea, including “The Koreans,” which was selected as one of the best books on the country by the Financial Times and Korea JoongAng Daily. Mike graduated with a degree in English literature and linguistics from Edinburgh University. He is a past president of the Seoul Foreign Correspondents Club and an honorary citizen of Seoul.
Founder & CEO of Candour Communications, Gayan leads the team. Before his entrepreneurial venture, Gayan was the Country Head of Brodeur India, a JV between TBWA and Brodeur Worldwide, both Ominicom Group companies. In his 25+ years in the PR industry, he has worked at agencies like Genesis-Burson Marsteller & Perfect Relations, servicing prominent brands & industry bodies. He has led or been part of teams that have run successful integrated communications campaigns for IBM GBS, Zoom, J&J Medical, Metro Cash and Carry, JVC, Panasonic, Schindler, Malaysia Tourism, Swiss Tourism, Sony PlayStation, and so on.
Matthew is one of Australia’s foremost communications practitioners in media, government and corporate settings.
Matthew has helped countless individuals and organisations ‘tell their story’ to the media, the government, the public and other audiences. He has handled some of the most high profile and difficult communications briefs in Australia.
Matthew graduated with High Distinction from one of Australia’s leading Communications Universities in the early nineties, having completed a BA majoring in Journalism and Politics.
He worked as a radio and television journalist for many years, including a long stint at National Nine News in Sydney where he was a trusted face covering major stories and issues.
Matthew has also been a Communications Manager for a former Cabinet Minister in the issues-rich portfolios of Health, Planning, Infrastructure and Natural Resources, and has worked in a senior communications capacity at a major New South Wales State Owned Corporation.
He has helped countless clients across multiple sectors including transport, resources, banking and property, as well as the not-for-profit sector.
Matthew is a recognised communications expert, having won multiple prestigious state and national PRIA awards for crisis management of matters that have attracted global media coverage.
Riccardo is a senior communications professional with 20+ years’ experience in maritime and boating, both as a public relations advisor and journalist.
He holds a journalism degree and has worked to manage communications for global brands following numerous serious incidents both in Italy and abroad.
Having worked for many years at top Italian PR agencies, Riccardo is now based in Genoa.
During his career, Riccardo has worked for leading Italian and international companies including, MSC Cruises, APM Terminals, Blu Navy, Genoa Oil Terminal, USCLAC (Italian shipmasters’ association), Archimede Maritime Training Network, ABB, British Gas, SBB Cargo, CRN (Ferretti Group), Guidi (marine accessories), not to mention sixteen editions of the Genoa Boat Show and three of the Croatia Boat Show, for which he served as media relations advisor.
As a journalist, he’s a contributor to Ship2shore, Italy’s leading media outlet specialising in shipping and logistics.
Riccardo speaks Italian, English and Serbo-Croatian.
Sibel Asna is the founder and director of A&B Communication Corp, based in Istanbul.
In addition to providing communication consultancy, Sibel also supports senior management teams, running crisis training and services for CEOs.
Sibel is an expert in corporate communications strategy and crises management. She also volunteers to support local NGOs.
A linguist in five Euro-Asian languages, Sibel has been recognised for her work both at home and internationally.
A&B Communications is a pioneering public relations company in Turkey (since 1974), with its mission to design and implement consistent, transparent and well-balanced communications strategies for its clients.
A&B brings decades of cross-sector experience covering fast responses: from safeguarding reputational risk to preparedness and proactive interventions early in a crisis; expertise which is highly valued in the major transport industries such as aviation, maritime and automotive.
Consultancy services have supported Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, Mersin International Port (MIP), Zihni Shipping Agency and Tofas-Fiat.
Tom Van Blarcom
Tom Van Blarcom has been actively involved in communications, management consulting and development for over 25 years. Since taking over TQPR in 1997, Tom has taken the agency to a leading position in the communications field in Thailand and the region, growing the firm to be one the top independent agencies in Southeast Asia. At TQPR Tom has created campaigns and managed accounts as diverse as Nok Air, JP Morgan Chase, Etihad Airways, Walt Disney, Mars Inc., Volkswagen and Swiss International Airlines. Prior to taking over at TQPR, Tom was Group Manager at Burson-Marsteller, one of the leading international communications firms.
Tom had previously been Division Manager with Coca-Cola (Southeast & West Asia) overseeing communications and development of staff at all function levels in 14 countries across the Asia/Pacific region, as well as full involvement as a team member in new country market operations.
Educated in North America and Europe, Tom was with the Peace Corps in Africa, and handled training programs in Saudi Arabia, prior to coming to Thailand in 1984.
Dan Underwood, CEO of Ashton Consulting in Tokyo, joined the firm as a founding equity partner in 2002 after working in journalism and healthcare. He has guided the development of Ashton Consulting into Japan’s leading international communications agency, with a diverse client base, bilingual culture and broad professional expertise. Dan advises clients in multiple sectors and has particular experience in transaction communications, crisis management, CEO communications and media training.
A New Zealander, Dan is a graduate of the Wellington School of Journalism and worked as a freelance journalist for publications in New Zealand and Australia. He graduated with a Diploma Physio from Otago Polytechnic and has a post-graduate Diploma MT from the University of Otago. He is bilingual in English and Japanese.
George has more than 25 years of communications experience including as the head of crisis communications for Mubadala in 2011, British Airways in Greece and the Balkans from 1994-2000, and for the entire Central-Eastern European region from 2002 to 2005. He led the development of crisis preparedness plans and was hands-on for a number of crisis incidents including the September 1999 accident of Greece’s foreign minister who was killed due to turbulence of an Olympic Airways-operated private jet flight from Athens to Bucharest.
He set up Leidar MENA in 2018.
Previously, as head of PR and external corporate communications at Al-Futtaim for five years, George handled a number of crises incidents for the group’s automotive, retail and real estate brands including IKEA and Toyota.
For nearly five years, George served the Middle East’s Golin operations (ex Golin Harris) initially as Joint MD and later as Managing Director, in a role that had him involved in every major crisis on behalf of the company’s client portfolio (including MasterCard and BP).
George is a journalism graduate from the London College of Communication. He started his career as a London-based sports journalist for weekly newspaper, The European (part of the Mirror Group). He has also contributed to investigative assignments for the Mail on Sunday, and, during the last five years, he has been a major contributor of opinion editorials about PR, Media and Marketing Communications for Gulf News, the Middle East’s most read English language daily newspaper.
Ana Manansala’s career has focused on public relations though, just like any professional, she sharpened her spurs by starting at the most menial of jobs. Ana worked her way up and, as a dedicated professional, she rates hard work, perseverance, adaptability and flexibility as the key attributes in every PR role.
Based in Manila, as managing director of AMCS, Ana has specialised in brand, reputation and crisis management. Her flexibility has enabled her to work with both local and regional clients in the Philippines as well as international clients from a variety of industries, cultures and disciplines – all this contributing to her being a consummate and well-rounded PR practitioner.
Tamara is a senior communications leader in British Columbia, with 20 years’ experience in providing corporate communications, public affairs and government relations advice and support to her clients, including eight years at Canada’s top two public relations and public affairs firms. Before that she spent 11 years in public service reporting directly to Ministers and Mayors in municipal and provincial governments in B.C.
She started Coast Communications and Public Affairs in 2017, where she is the Owner and Chief Client Advisor. Tamara’s clients have included some of B.C.’s largest companies and organizations, including marine shippers, terminals and ports, business associations, regulated utilities, energy sector (including renewables, natural gas and LNG projects and associations), forestry and mining companies, associations, universities, transportation organisations, municipal governments, indigenous governments, not-for-profit organisations and others.
Tamara has a Master’s degree in Anthropology from the University of British Columbia with a focus on B.C. Indigenous nations and politics. She is an active community volunteer, and has chaired three not-for-profits boards: the Kettle Friendship Society Board, a mental health care and housing organisation supporting homeless people; Kitsilano Neighbourhood House and the Public Affairs Association of Canada BC Chapter. She is trained in public engagement and consultation through the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2).
Network Partner China
John is the MD of Sandpiper North Head. He has over 30 years of international public affairs and strategic communications experience in various parts of the world. He has been in China over 16 years. John has been dealing with maritime issues in Europe and Asia for over 12 years while providing services to Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF). He has advised extensively on crisis management, from preparation, training, conduct and recovery.
Before China, he was in Brussels as CEO of Weber Shandwick’s operations and head of public affairs across Europe. For ten years, he was executive director at the American Chamber to the European Union in Brussels.
Santiago has over 20 years of institutional communication and crisis management experience. Since 2011 he has been a partner at Identia PR, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he works on the development of plans for strategic communication, crisis and damage control, issue management, opposition research, public relations and press relations.
He has implemented plans for companies and organizations in Argentina and abroad in corporate and industrial sectors such as maritime, ports, mining, oil & gas, IT. Santiago has a degree in Political Science and a master’s in business administration at IAE Business School.