Hunt starts work this month and will report directly to Sadoun. He joins an executive team that includes Loris Nold, CEO of Asia-Pacific and emerging markets, who takes responsibility for global clients, non-executive chairman Laurie Kwong, former CEO of Publicis Greater China and Patti Sun, CEO of Publicis Betterway.
This management team was formed in April as part of the reorganisation of the agency’s Greater China business, which saw the departure of its former Greater China CEO, Jeffrey Yu.
The region’s market leaders—Sansoni AuYeung, CEO of Beijing; ChengHua Yang, CEO of Shanghai & Guangzhou; and Sue McCuster CEO of Hong Kong—will continue reporting directly to Sadoun following Hunt’s appointment.
When asked about Yu’s assertions that he resigned his post after “cleaning up the mess” and “moving mountains” for Publicis WW, Sadoun said: "To be clear, Jeffrey didn’t resign. I decided we needed another kind of profile to run our operations in Greater China. We didn’t comment at the time because it wasn’t appropriate, but now things are clear we can speak.”
Sadoun added that Yu wasn’t a leader who was in line with his vision for Greater China. “I’m not kidding, I want us to be the creative partners of our clients and I wanted a leader who is capable of speaking at the highest level and also on a day-to-day basis with our clients to ensure we deliver the digital transformation that they need.”
While Hunt is not a direct replacement for Yu (that role is assumed by Sadoun alongside his global duties), his digital background and experience in building up AKQA from a team of 35 to around 120 in three years are qualities that Sadoun feels the team needs. Hunt also brings with him more than 25 years experience, 12 of which were spent in China.
“Look at the experience David has in Greater China," Sadoun said. "He’s somebody who knows how to take an agency and grow it."