Staff Reporters
Nov 10, 2021

40 Under 40 2021: Dheeraj Raina, Dentsu

Over his 16-year career, Raina has transformed fortunes and driven growth for several agencies, all while leading with empathy and a passion for doing good.

40 Under 40 2021: Dheeraj Raina, Dentsu
Proven performers with plentiful potential in the APAC marcomms industry

Dheeraj Raina

CEO, media brands

Dheeraj Raina is a passionate leader, one who has had a transformational impact on the advertising industry over his 16-year career. From humble beginnings as an overnight displaced refugee at the age of 9 during the 1990 Kashmir conflict, to today landing C-suite roles at the largest global agency networks, Raina’s own life journey is testament to the power of transformation.

In the years since beginning his career in 2006, Raina has led strategy and boosted performance for several agencies, including driving the turnaround for Mindshare Malaysia with a strong focus on product capability, growth, human management and client development and retention, which resulted in a Silver at the Campaign Asia-Pacific Agency of the Year Awards in 2019.

In January 2021, Raina took on the role of CEO of media brands at Dentsu Malaysia, where he has already transformed fortunes. Winning seven major clients in seven months, including Pizza Hut and Milo (Nestlé) against competing agencies, Raina has helped put teh agency on track for growth with US$16.7 million in new business won.

Raina leads with his own consistent performance of taking ownership and getting directly involved in doing the groundwork. Just weeks into joining Dentsu Malaysia, he turned what was previously a siloed and hierarchical team divided culturally between eastern traditional media and western digital startup agencies into one open family. He serves as a proactive mentor in his employees’ career paths, meeting with five to six individuals every month. Over time, his cumulative industry network means he can recruit the right talent at the right time; he ensured his EXCO leadership is represented by 50% women.

Raina is committed to elevating others in the industry. Beyond his client work, he serves as a pro-bono mentor to 16 SME businesses through fintech accelerator Finlab, scaling them up through his digital master classes. Generous in sharing his expertise with others, he patiently mentored a graduate intern for six years through her career until she became an MNC strategy manager. He took a family-owned traditional Malaysian restaurant chain through a digital transformation and helped it launch three sub-brands online. He coached a young female entrepreneur, bootstrapping an on-demand food delivery app so that it went from a family kitchen endeavour into one of the most well-loved brands in Kuala Lumpur.

Proven performers with plentiful potential in the APAC marcomms industry


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