Expat Leads GQP In Beijing

As APAC regional director of Godfrey Q and Partners’ new Beijing office, Scott Silverman will have to put his love of college football on hold a bit longer. But that, he said, is a small price to pay for helping clients “build a bridge to opportunities in Asia.”

Silverman, 50, has been working overseas since 1996, most recently as general manager of WPP’s Young & Rubicam/Wunderman, Beijing. Initially sent to serve as regional management supervisor for sister shop Ogilvy & Mather, Tokyo, Silverman has also worked in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore on accounts such as IBM, Microsoft and Motorola.

When he was approached last year by independent GQP, Silverman had been wanting to make a change from “traditional holding company agencies to do something a little more entrepreneurial.” Overseeing a China outpost for the three-year-old San Francisco tech shop was perfect.

GQP clients, including Symantec, WebEx and Borland, are “attracted by what’s going on in China, but largely unsure how to proceed,” said Patrick Godfrey, GQP managing partner. “We’re going to help that.”

The Beijing branch, which opened this month, will be a one-man shop for now. The office will “leverage relationships with similar hot entrepreneurial shops and creative directors” from Asia, he said, to create work that has “a local feel and local heart, even [though] it’s an international brand.”

Originally from Queens, New York, Silverman has a bachelor’s in political science from SUNY Geneseo and began his career as a stand-up comic. In the early ’80s, Silverman moved with his wife and three sons to Southern California to work as half of the KBET morning team, “Barry and the Beast.” It wasn’t until he was 34 that he entered the ad world, joining Ogilvy Los Angeles as “an assistant traffic guy.”

Silverman lives in Beijing with his wife and one son (the other two are in the U.S.). Aside from the lack of football, Silverman has only one real regret: “You can’t get good pizza or bagels.”