Staff Reporters
May 16, 2023

Asia-Pacific Power List 2023: Umesh Phadke, L'Oréal

A visionary who has delivered digital commerce success in Thailand and Indonesia, this change agent is now set on transforming L’Oreal’s marketing at scale across regions.

Asia-Pacific Power List 2023: Umesh Phadke, L'Oréal
Asia-Pacific’s 50 most influential and purposeful marketers

Umesh Phadke

Chief transformation officer, SAPMENA
New member

It’s only fitting that a chief transformation officer has entered our Power List, as more top marketers are tasked with delivering seamless digital brand experiences for their customers. At L’Oreal, Umesh Phadke is truly a change agent, having steered several major transformations during his distinguished 12-year career for the cosmetics powerhouse in Southeast Asia. Little wonder he was promoted this past year to a much larger role to bring even greater change across several regions.

After first joining L’Oreal as its managing director for Thailand in 2011, Phadke set about turning its traditional business into a digital marketing organisation. After redesigning internal structures, processes and culture, he built partnerships with platforms like Google, Line and Facebook to create cutting-edge digital marketing plans that positioned the company as an early digital leader in the market by 2016 when he left for Jakarta.

As L’Oreal Indonesia’s president director, Phadke next embraced the move from digital marketing to ecommerce, creating a team from scratch to work with new partners like Lazada, Shopee and Tokopedia that paid off in spades when Covid shut physical stores but saw online sales rise spectacularly. Recognising the potential of livestreaming, Phadke further positioned L’Oreal as a social commerce leader by investing in livestreaming infrastructure and partnering with TikTok on joint business plans, garnering multiple mobile marketing awards for the brand.

Given his great success in embracing digital marketing and sales, Phadke was promoted last September to his current role, where he is now building out new centres of excellence for content and performance as part of a greater transformation project across South Asia Pacific, the Middle East and North Africa.  

While Phadke is lauded for his business acumen, vision and networking abilities, his role in developing people is what many appreciate the most. Employee engagement and enablement scores rose consistently during his years in Thailand and Indonesia, culminating in several workplace awards including being named one of SWA Magazine Indonesia’s ‘2020 Best CEOs’ based on employee surveys, which also recognised the company as a ‘pandemic hero.’  Indeed, testimonial from Google Indonesia’s country manager points out Phadke’s empathetic acts to support healthcare workers and business partners through care packages and vaccination drives.

Prior to L’Oreal, Phadke led the Thailand and Myanmar markets as general manager for GlaxoSmithKline where he built a new skill set in handling regulatory affairs. Before this, he spent more than 14 years in marketing roles at P&G in Asia, responsible for hair care brands like Clairol and Pantene in Thailand and Indonesia.

Asia-Pacific’s 50 most influential and purposeful marketers


Campaign Asia

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