As 2015 nears its end, Campaign Asia-Pacific is reviewing the year by featuring one best-of (or worst-of) list each day. We've got 12 days' worth of the biggest PR disasters, deals, pitches, launches and people moves; the best and not-best campaigns; and the oddest stories and quotes we've heard. Click here for all our year-in-review features from not only 2015 but also past years.
This year saw even more movement at high levels than usual. Here's our view of the year's biggest hires.
Stephen Li joins the OMD family in Asia
Stephen Li took up a new position as Asia-Pacific CEO of OMD in October, a lateral jump from his old role at MEC Asia-Pacific, where he had spent the last 10 years.
Li raised eyebrows across the region by confessing that maybe he joined OMD because he really wanted to be one-third of the only senior management team of an agency in Asia that’s all Asian. His “we are all yellow” quote may just be the most colourful comment of the year associated with a move.
Jean-Paul Burge steps up to helm BBDO Asia
With Chris Thomas jumping to the role of CEO of the Americas for BBDO back in March, after nine years helming the Asia operations, Jean-Paul Burge stepped up to fill some very large shoes.
Burge got the gig after a commendable performance running the Singapore operations and was a member of the regional leadership during a change of fortune for BBDO in Asia led by Thomas.
Commenting on Burge’s promotion, Andrew Robertson, president and CEO of BBDO Worldwide, said: “he knows what it takes to succeed in the region.”
Philip Brett takes up the reins at TBWA Asia
A regional shuffle at TBWA saw Philip Brett promoted to Asia president, taking over day-to-day oversight during the first quarter of the year.
Previously president of TBWA Group South and Southeast Asia, Brett replaced Keith Smith, who has remained has remained de facto regional head despite being named president, international in 2006. Smith is now president international, global markets.
Singapore also became the network's Asia headquarters, though Brett stressed that Hong Kong remains an important office, both as a gateway to China and as either the hub or the home for important clients including Standard-Chartered.
Ayami Nakao takes leading role at Hakuhodo
In July, Ayami Nakao was appointed corporate officer at Hakuhodo, the first time a woman has taken such a role at Japan’s oldest advertising agency.
While the title seems vague, Nakao essentially serves as a director of global branding and leading new business.
“The role used to be just a title, but mine will be much more operational,” she said, with one of her missions to achieve stronger visibility and strengthen the reputation of Hakuhodo outside of Japan.
Nakao joined the agency in 1996 but has served as a ‘fellow’ for the past 10 years, based independently in Paris.
Ken Mandel suits up at Starcom Mediavest Group
After a long hiatus, Ken Mandel rejoins the office crowd as Asia Pacific president of Starcom Mediavest Group’s Global Client Network practice.
His last 'real' job was as APAC MD for Hootsuite, a post he left late last year due to a restructuring.
"I've always enjoyed working in big corporations, but what led me out of them was a need to deepen my technical skills,” Mandel said. “Now I get to bring almost a decade's worth of that knowledge back to an industry I've always loved.”
Global CEO Laura Desmond said Mandel's "expertise and pioneering footprint in digital," will give SMG a competitive advantage to help clients "unlock growth and business transformation".