Campaign Asia-Pacific is presenting a new top-5 list every day until we send our last daily bulletin of the year on December 19. We've had fun pulling this annual review together, and we hope you'll enjoy it too.
Please follow along as we spotlight the year's highlights and lowlights. And if you think we've screwed up—either by inclusion or omission—please let us hear about it in the comments and/or on Twitter @CampaignAsia using the hashtag #CampaignBestOf2014.
Without further ado, here are the...
Bonus late-breaking breakup: Neil Stewart and Maxus
Yesterday, Neil Stewart, global chief client officer at Maxus, announced that he will leave the company in January for an APAC role at Facebook. Stewart has spent six years at Maxus, first as Asia Pacific chief executive and then as chief client officer since September 2013. He will join Facebook as head of agency for APAC and will remain based in Singapore. Lindsay Pattison, global CEO at Maxus, had this to say of Stewart's departure, "Neil was a very early recruit into our family and has helped to shape the great agency we are today. He grew the Asia-Pacific region at a tremendous rate, has been pivotal in our success and made many, many friends along the way." There are currently no plans to replace Stewart's role.
1 - Ian Thubron and TBWA
News of Ian Thubron’s departure almost broke the internet. Well, maybe not — but it did generate a huge amount of buzz, perhaps because after 10 years at TBWA, one would have taken Thubron to be a fixture. Thubron, who serves as Greater China president as well as Asia-Pacific executive vice-president, leaves the agency in February to start own brand advisory firm. As for TBWA, the company maintains the split is “perfectly amicable” and credits Thubron with helping it become “the top performer within the network”.
2 - Simon Sproule and Nissan, then Tesla
After 11 years, Nissan veteran Simon Sproule quit not one, but two carmakers in quick succession. He joined Elon Musk’s Tesla as vice-president of communications and marketing in March, timed perfectly for the electric car-maker’s entry into China. It might have seemed a dream job, but was short-lived: Sproule couldn’t resist a bigger dream when Aston Martin offered him the CMO position. In his new role, he reports to the company CEO and former Nissan alum Andy Palmer.
3 - Jonathan Sanchez and Unilever
In a surprise move, Unilever’s communications lead Jonathan Sanchez announced his decision to leave the company after three years to start his own venture focused on “leadership communication” — Stand, based in both Bangkok and Singapore. Sanchez’s career in the industry has spanned various leadership roles at JWT, Euro RSCG, IAC and Freud Communications and Edelman in London, New York and Singapore. At Unilever, he was responsible for Russia, Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Australia, and also oversaw the ‘blue U’ brand campaign.
4 - Jean-Michel Wu and WPP
After a decade with WPP, Jean-Michel Wu, regional talent director, called it quits to join rival Interpublic Group’s McCann. The news comes at a critical time for talent acquisition and retention in the region. Wu started out at Ogilvy and took on the WPP network role in 2009. Highlights during that period included establishing WPP talent management teams across four Asian markets (China, Singapore, Japan and Australia), and helping launch the WPP School of Marketing Communications in Shanghai.
5 - Jason White and W+K
Jason White ended his nine-year relationship with Wieden+Kennedy for a job with popular headphone maker Beats by Dre. White served as W+K Shanghai’s managing director for two years and eight months. He first worked in China as lead on the Nike account from May 2006 through September 2009. One of the first to join the agency, White referred to himself as “employee 22”. His time at the agency included stints in Oregon, where he worked as global account director for Nike.