Aimee Buchanan | GM, OMD Sydney | Age 36:
After helping establish Australia’s first dedicated-client trading desk in 2012, which secured millions in savings for client Telstra and boosted revenue for her own agency, Aimee Buchanan received a promotion to general manager OMD Sydney in 2013. The new role put her at the helm of the country’s single largest media office. Since then she lead numerous pitches, including helloworld, Hoyts, and New South Wales and was integral to extending contracts with Tourism Australia and Telstra. “Aimee is an impact player who makes a material difference to the Telstra business. There’s no question she punches above her weight,” said Andy Bateman, Director Segment Marketing, Telstra Retail. But her zeal to grow doesn’t stop with the client base. She also looks inward to nurture talent. Buchanan has driven numerous initiatives to ensure access to senior executives and boost staff engagement. These include ‘speed dating’ events with the executive team; reverse mentoring (team members who are under 30 counsel senior execs); and mock pitches.
Ajay Gupte | Technical advisor/country lead, MEC Indonesia | Age 38:
The digital revolution has changed the face of advertising, but it is hard to sell a product that clients simply do not understand. Spotting a serious knowledge gap in the Indonesian market in 2011, Gupte set up a conference aimed at de-mystifying the digital world. ‘Navigating the sphere’ has since become an annual event, well attended by everyone from Google all the way down to small start-ups. This commitment to digital and a bold, visionary solution to an industry-wide issue is typical of Gupte’s gung-ho style. When Gupte joined MEC Indonesia in 2011, he inherited an agency facing major difficulties, having just lost its largest client, Telkomsel. However, the former MediaReach director has turned the situation around, having won some US$100-million-worth of billings in new business, tripling revenue and boosting profit fivefold in the past three years. Staffing levels have also more than tripled during the period, mushrooming from just 18 when Gupte arrived to 60 at present. But more than just adding numbers, Gupte has diversified the staff makeup, with young, enthusiastic specialists in digital, data and analytics, strategy and partnerships.
Alex Wilson | Director and founder, Flamingo Shanghai | Age 32:
Wilson has been with Flamingo since he graduated from university in 2006. He joined the brand strategy company in London and after stints in Tokyo and Singapore, moved to Shanghai to set up the office there in 2009. Since then, the company has seen average growth of 44 per cent each year. Wilson’s approach, which is based on cultural thought leadership, has helped build Flamingo into one of the most respected strategy consultancies in China. “In Asia, there is no better agency than Flamingo,” says Johannes Hartmann, vice-president of global consumer insight at Estee Lauder. “They deliver consumer insight with the highest cultural sensitivity.” Wilson believes in the value of strong company culture and this has led to a retention rate of more than 97 per cent over the past five years. He is responsible for developing the company’s content structure, drawing several thousand monthly readers to its social platforms and newsletters. He is also a pioneer of the Flamingo Works initiative, in which a budget of around US$40,000 is set aside for staff to work on personal passion projects that will in turn become cultural assets for the company.
Alice Atherton | Planning director, Grey Group Australia:
Among Grey’s senior partners, Atherton has a reputation as a driven perfectionist who “will not stop working”. This committed young planner is known for her ambition, for being a driving force in projects and as someone who both inspires and “pushes creatives to think hard and hunt ideas — big, powerful ideas that build brands and create sales”, according to Michael Knox, managing partner and executive creative director of Grey Melbourne. In addition to corporate work, Atherton has a strong proven track record in the field of health and safety awareness. She was lead strategist for a highly successful road-safety campaign for the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) in Victoria in 2013 which contributed to the Australian state recording its lowest road-fatality figure in almost 90 years. Also in Victoria, Atherton was behind ‘Young workers’, an integrated work-safety campaign that resulted in a 13 per cent drop in workplace injury claims. Her work on ‘Wipe off 5: driving a community to slow down’, again for TAC, netted a Bronze at Cannes and the campaign was selected as an Effie finalist. Another campaign, for MS Australia, involved a photography app aimed at promoting awareness of multiple sclerosis and as a tool to help sufferers of the condition. Intended for the domestic market, it ended up being downloaded by users in over 70 countries.
Andy Radovic | Regional director, digital, Asia-Pacific, Maxus | Age 37:
In his first year as regional director of digital for Maxus, Radovic has driven the expansion of the digital business across Asia-Pacific, which last year resulted in 55 per cent year-on-year revenue growth for the media agency. Having spearheaded its search, social and data insights service offerings, Radovic has ensured Maxus has been able to attract world-class clients including the likes of Apple, Nikon and Jetstar. He’s also been a magnet for talent: Radovic has seen the digital team across the region grow in size by around 25 per cent through his support. Prior to this, he served as MD of digital for GroupM Japan where he drove consistent annual top-line growth of over 30 per cent during his four years at the helm and helped the group win strong digitally focused clients like P&G, LVMH and Microsoft. In 2012, in addition to his role in Japan, Radovic launched GroupM Digital in Korea and built the team from a zero base to a fully operational business unit of eight with clients like Expedia, Lufthansa and Red Bull.
Anita Devraj Mookerjee | Managing director, MediaCom Indonesia:
Under Mookerjee’s leadership, MediaCom Indonesia has expanded exponentially over the last year, growing over 200 per cent (nine times faster than the market) and jumping nine ranks from 15 to six, according to RECMA. The agency added more than US$200 million in new business during that time and claims a retention rate of 100 per cent. Ed Thesiger, CEO of GroupM Indonesia, praises Mookerjee’s excellent technical knowledge, and her leadership skills have been key in ensuring MediaCom Indonesia’s staff retention is some of the best in the country, with a turnover rate of 12 per cent. She is also passionate about giving back to society. Last year, her team resurrected two schools in Jakarta that had been badly damaged in severe floods. The team raised funds to buy new equipment and books for the schools and got together to refurbish the schools and give the children a new lease of life.
Arthur Policarpio | Head of Mobext Asia-Pacific and CEO, Mobext Philippines | Age 36:
Havas Media credits Policarpio with developing its mobile arm across Asia-Pacific, winning it clients such as McDonald’s Pfizer and AXA. Under his leadership, Mobext is one of the group’s fastest growing disciplines, chalking up annual growth billings of about 80 per cent. An early-believer in mobile, Policarpio left his brand manager role with P&G in 2002 to help start Global Wireless Connections, Philippine’s first mobile marketing agencies. After four years, he founded digital agency, Snapworx, which Havas Media took a majority stake in 2012, rebranding it to Mobext. Vishnu Mohan, CEO of Havas Media Group Asia-Pacific credits Policarpio with “deep domain expertise in mobile” and the ability to develop sustainable business models around it.
Calvin Fu | MD, Fuse China | Age 34:
In February, at the age of 34, Fu became one of the youngest managing directors within OMD China. Fu joined OMD in 2010 as a content director, charged with building a branded content team. Two years later he successfully launched Fuse China, which delivers integrated marketing solutions for clients with branded content across multiple platforms. The agency has grown from just one person to 27. Fu’s collaborative management style has achieved the highest staff retention rate within OMD, and seriously profitable growth. Last year, he brought in new business worth over US$50 million and Fuse’s revenue increased by 50 per cent. Together with OMD, Fu helped to win 15 new clients, such as Yili, Maserati and Electrolux, and has also strengthened existing client relationships, taking them beyond traditional media solutions with differentiation and innovation. In 2013, he brought in more than 10 existing OMD clients, including Bosch, Li-Ning and HTC, for content projects.
Chiradeep Gupta | Manager, global media, categories and partnerships, Unilever | Age 37:
A passion for media and communication innovations underpin Gupta’s drive to spread the word about Unilever’s top global brands in Asia. A technical whizz with extensive media expertise, Gupta has been called upon to brief some of the multinational’s top executives on the rapidly evolving face of digital communications and has developed partnerships with key mobile providers. Gupta joined Unilever in late 2011 after spending eight years at Starcom MediaVest working his way from account manager to regional director. At Unilever, he works with the global media team to develop communication architectures, drive innovation and integrate media thinking on initiatives for some of the conglomerate’s biggest brands in Asia, including Lux, Lifebuoy and Clear. In the past year, Gupta has been responsible for handling the transition of Unilever’s global communication planning assignment from Mindshare to PHD Worldwide, in terms of global brands based in his region. In the wake of this major move, he has been working closely with both agencies to develop various initiatives across multiple markets. Gupta plays an important role in building digital capabilities throughout the company, and played a key part in launching Unilever’s media command centre in Singapore. Gupta’s technical understanding has led to him acting as reverse mentor for Unilever chief operating officer Harish Manwani and Alan Jope, president, Russia Africa and Middle East.
Chris Howatson | Managing director, CHE Proximity Melbourne | Age 29:
Chris Howatson raised industry eyebrows in 2012 when the then-27-year-old was named Clemenger Group’s youngest-ever managing director and placed in charge of the company’s newly merged creative agency, CHE Proximity. Taking advantage of the restructuring process, Howatson threw out established thinking and established a radically different operational framework. This bold move introduced “platoons” of thinkers in place of traditional rigid hierarchies. Howatson implemented a hiring policy that insisted all staff “dream in digital” — testament to his dual emphasis on creative and technology. The new structure also called for a sweeping cull of “all senior leaders who lacked the capability or attitude to change”. It was a high-risk strategy, but Clemenger had good reason to place their trust in the young star. Aside from eight months working for George Patterson Y&R in 2007, Howatson has spent his entire 12-year career with Clemenger Group, having starting out as an account coordinator in Clemenger BBDO’s Brisbane office in 2002. While implementing the massive upheavals in culture and working practices, Howatson personally met with all the agency’s existing clients to explain the changes, and as a result did not lose a single one. Peter Harvie, CHE Proximity non-executive chairman, describes Howatson as “a natural leader” and pulls no punches in his assessment of what the youthful MD has achieved: “He’s led a revolution within the organisation, and he’s done it with grace.”
Chris ter Steege | Regional director, Philips Asia-Pacific | Age 38:
With a digital and management background in Europe, Chris ter Steege has spent the last four years driving digital, social and brand in the consumer lifestyle, consumer lighting, professional lighting, healthcare and corporate sectors for Philips across ten countries in the Asia-Pacific. He has achieved outstanding business and digital engagement results in the region, which includes double-digit growth in brand preference across markets in conjunction with driving business integration and lead generation results. A further milestone was growing key social platforms in Indonesia from twenty-five thousand to three hundred thousand with triple-digit growth in engagement. Known for his social media and content marketing work, Steege’s initiatives were highlighted in the WARC/AAA annual report under the Asian social media best practice case studies. His latest co-developed work for Philips Asia-Pacific is a content-marketing programme that connects social, digital, and marketing data to marketing planning, content creation, distribution and amplification for real-time marketing. Beyond just a social listening centre or newsroom, Steege says the initiative will see the formation of a dedicated physical location and “will go way further. We’ll be one of the first brands to take such a [thorough] approach to content marketing”.
Darren Yuen | General manager, Carat Malaysia | Age 38:
Fiercely competitive by nature, Yuen is an exceptionally goal-driven rising star at Carat Malaysia who will stop at nothing to seal a deal or exceed his financial targets. Yuen believes in measuring achievements against three main pillars of success: financial, new business wins and awards. Since Yuen was promoted from business director to general manager in 2012, the company has seen dramatic improvements in financial terms, secured a tranche of new clients and improved its performance in awards competitions. Championing greater adoption of econometrics and analytics and a more total-solution-based approach, Yuen re-organised Carat’s business model and managed to diversify the range of services clients used the agency for. As a result, Carat notched up a 24 per cent increase in agency billings and 66 per cent increase in revenue in 2013. In the first half of this year, Yuen played a decisive role in winning 16 new clients, worth over US$80 million in billable business, resulting in R3 rating Carat as Malaysia’s fastest-growing agency. Yuen’s future potential has been noted by Dentsu Aegis Network, as he has been selected to join its ‘Route 500’ programme, which is designed to fast-track the training of the top 5 per cent of the network’s talented individuals.
Dheeraj Sinha | Chief strategy officer, Grey South & Southeast Asia | Age 39:
Known to his superiors as “the planner’s planner”, Dheeraj Sinha has tapped into his passions for networking and collaboration to cement the importance of the strategic angle in the creative process. Since Sinha took control of Grey’s strategy and planning in the region in mid-2012, he has been working to develop an effective “planning community”. This consists of a team of 25 key planners specialising in different fields across India and Southeast Asia who remain in constant online contact with one another. The community helps to ensure consistent thinking across the various markets and raise the profile of strategic planning within the agency. However, Sinha expects his strategists to act as well as philosophise; he expects them to be “back-packing intellectuals”. His enthusiasm for training has also seen him wage war on complacency: driving out the sense of “everydayness” that too often creeps into marketing of familiar and established brands. The resulting gear-change has helped the agency secure an impressive level of new business and piqued the attention of awards judges. In 2013-2-14, Grey network in Asia has accrued 11 major awards for effectiveness, including Effies, APAC Effies, Asian Marketing Effectiveness Awards and International AMEs. Prior to joining Grey, Sinha headed up planning for Bates Asia, also part of the WPP Grey group, before which he was planning director at Euro RSCG and had spent five years as associate planning director at McCann Erikson. Sinha’s book, Consumer India—inside the Indian mind and wallet, published in 2011, has been selected as recommended reading for the Wharton Business School course on marketing in emerging economies.
Ee Rong Chong | MD, Ogilvy Public Relations Singapore | Age 38:
A mother of two, Chong is already an Ogilvy veteran, having joined 15 years ago in Kuala Lumpur. In January, she was appointed MD of Ogilvy PR Singapore after six years as its deputy, and now spearheads the company’s most profitable public relations business in the Asia-Pacific, overseeing day-to-day management of more than 100 specialists. Chong’s efforts have seen the Singapore business triple in size in recent years. She has added new practices including [email protected], Ogilvy Impact for employee communications, Social Marketing, and has developed a new content and strategic planning division. She has also led the PR team to a number of prestigious business wins and coveted new clients including American Express, Hyatt, Starbucks and Cadbury. Client Myrna Poon from the Singapore Economic Development Board sings Chong’s praises, describing her as “tenacious”, “creative” and “smart”. “She knows her stuff and she expertly anticipates and manages the needs of her clients,” says Poon.
Emma Richards | Vice-president and GM, Waggener Edstrom Hong Kong | Age 37:
Over her six years with Waggener Edstrom, Richards has dedicated herself to growing the Hong Kong business but it’s her contribution in the past year which stands out most. Since her appointment as vice-president and general manager for the Hong Kong office in 2013, Richards has driven its evolution from a local execution agency to one with global communications capabilities, and overseen its shift from a technology-focused agency to one with a strong consumer portfolio and the ability to offer complete integrated communications packages. While the agency is traditionally known for bringing global tech brands into Hong Kong and localising them for Hong Kong activities, it has expanded its focus under Richards’ leadership, driving communications for Asian-based brands to broaden their global reach. This has led to a mixture of client wins across various industries, including fashion brand ASH and semiconductor manufacturer MediaTek as global remits. WE Hong Kong has been especially successful in winning new clients for the consumer practice, including Pernod Ricard, Hong Kong Tourism Board, Luxasia and two major retail companies.
Gary Teo | Regional technology director & projects director, VML Qais | Age 32:
Since joining VML Qais in 2013, Teo has been credited with restructuring both the technology and the projects departments successfully. The agency reports significant growth in the sizes of the respective teams, their competencies and client satisfaction. With more than a decade of experience in the industry, Teo has acquired experience in technology, UX architecture and product management. A graduate of the Stanford University Management Science and Engineering, Teo returned to Singapore in 2008 and co-founded, Savant Degrees, a design and technology firm that worked with clients such as Sony, Banyan Tree and Vodafone. “I’ve been working with Gary for the past five years, and his hunger for knowledge and drive to move the knowledge and competency of teams to the next level is amazing,” commented Tripti Lochan, CEO of VML Qais. “He is a lateral thinker, with an uncanny aptitude of making things happen that seem out of reach and impossible.”
Hari Shankar | Head of paid media, Paypal Asia-Pacific:
Caught up in the early dotcom boom (and bust), Shankar was headhunted by EuroRSCG India in 2001 to set up its digital department working on the agency’s Intel and later Dell accounts. The role led to a role with mDigital Singapore (now known as Mindshare Interaction) and eventually to back to EuroRSCG in Singapore as integrated media director working on Dell South Asia. But it was when he joined Performics in 2009 that Shankar felt his career really started to take off. Over the course of nearly five years there he helped build its Asia-Pacific centre of excellence and rose to head its Singapore office. Over the past year, Shankar was key in landing major accounts for the agency including Singapore Airlines, Scoot, and Marriot International and claims to have never lost a client to another agency during his stint at Perfomics. He moved to his present role with PayPal in July and works across all markets in Asia-Pacific to align paid meida goals with business objectives.
James Hawkins | CEO, Dentsu Mobius | Age 34:
Sometimes it takes a younger mind to see the bold solution and have the audacity to put it into practice. That was the experience of Dentsu when it chose James Hawkins to head up its new specialist digital agency. Just 32 years old at the time, Hawkins rejected the safer, more traditional approach of finding a small start-up digital agency taking it over and bolting it onto the group’s existing structure. Instead, he set out to build one from scratch, tailoring its scope and focus to the group’s precise needs across the region. Realising this bold vision has taken both ambition and cool leadership from Hawkins. Initially named co-managing director of the Dentsu Mobius project, Hawkins was promoted to CEO just four months after the launch on Valentine’s Day, 2012. Two years down the line, Dentsu Mobius has grown into a US$20-million business. The team currently consists of 45 digital experts based in Singapore, but is poised to expand with offices in both Thailand and Indonesia. With such a rapidly expanding team, Hawkins understandably places emphasis on staff development, funding training for junior executives to familiarise themselves with client’s products. Tim Andree, executive vice-president of Dentsu, describes Hawkins as “ambitious, insightful and strategic”. “In an era of digitalisation and convergence, James has proven to be the epitome of the kind of executive leadership that is needed in this new advertising landscape,” Andree says.
Jeff Wang | Vice-president, Weber Shandwick China | Age 36:
Since joining Weber Shandwick in 2006 as a consultant, Jeff Wang has proven himself to be one of the most inventive, versatile and creative leaders in China’s communications industry. While his PR career began leading product launches and managing crises for tech companies, Wang really set tongues wagging doing work for beauty brand Vidal Sassoon, where he conceived and executed a number of collaborations with local and international fashion designers, such as Alexander Wang. From ideation to identifying planning, from traditional PR to full marketing integration, his consultation and vision for the brand helped to establish Vidal Sassoon’s approach and strategy in China, and collaboration became the model for Vidal Sassoon’s marketing. In the past 12 months alone, under Wang’s leadership, the Weber Shandwick China consumer team has more than tripled its business and size, winning major new clients including Ferragamo Perfume, Madame Tussauds Beijing, Denza and Trendiano, with 10 new retainer clients for the Beijing consumer practice alone. In recognition of his creative abilities, Wang recently became the first Asia-based member of staff named to Weber Shandwick’s global creative council.
Jenny Chan | Vice-president, business development and marketing, Asia-Pacific, The Hoffman Agency | Age 35:
A seemingly insatiable appetite for work, combined with equally deep reserves of energy, have taken the 35-year-old Chan to where she is today. Until recently, she served as GM of Hoffman’s Hong Kong office — a post she took up at 30, the youngest ever within Hoffman. As GM, she moved the agency outside of its tech comfort zone to bring in new business from the beauty, lifestyle, consumer and education sectors. Recent new clients include Chicago Booth and AS Watson as well as brands such as China Mobile and Siemens. Under Chan’s tenure, the office posted double-digit growth every year and in 2013 recorded the highest revenue level in its history. In her new role, Chan will drive regional new business development of Asian companies looking to go global. “Jenny Chan embodies what The Hoffman Agency is all about,” says Natalie Lowe, the firm’s managing director for Asia-Pacific, describing her as young, energetic, passionate and a “true professional”.
Jeremy Webb | National director, [email protected] China | Age 30:
English-born Webb moved to China to work as a journalist after mastering Putonghua at university. Shortly after, he joined Ogilvy PR editing English then successfully lobbied his boss to set up a social media team. He now coordinates a cross-disciplinary [email protected] community across Beijing and Shanghai. Last year, he significantly increased social media revenue with work for a handful of blue-chip brands, including British Airways, Crayola and Nestlé. The latter involved the creation of a digital consumer demand centre located in Beijing as the key element in a new programme that helps Nestlé better engage consumers through listening, data analysis, real-time content and monitoring. He’s also a popular voice on Weibo and his now-defunct Chinese-language blog, AngryEditor.com, has been published into a book. Webb believes it is his knowledge of, and prowess managing things at an executional level (the back end), in addition to his knack for strategy, which has set him apart in the business of social marketing. His ambition now is to make [email protected] the most important team in the agency in China and integrate it into every piece of business.
JK Shen | Senior vice-president, Razorfish China | Age 33:
JK Shen made his mark early on in his career, helping companies interact with customers online long before the rise of social media. His track record combined with forward thinking give him a sage-like status in Chinese social media marketing. In 2007, he co-founded what would become one of the most influential social media agencies in China, [email protected], providing cutting-edge services for China’s most powerful social media platforms. When Razorfish China acquired [email protected] in 2013, he moved on to lead Razorfish China’s social team as senior vice-president. Shen’s impact has remained strong. Last year he brought in new business and maximised long-term relationships with foundation clients that resulted in an eighty per cent rise in revenue on 2013 from Razorfish China’s previous year in the social segment. Clients like Moet & Hennessy, Unilever (Ponds & Lux), Estee Lauder, Air France, Pepsi Co. and Lays are also winning as a result, breaking sales records and acquiring hundreds of thousands of new brand fans through Shen’s pioneering campaigns. Shen has spearheaded social mobile innovation; his work for Lay’s, a multi-platform experience combining brand building and immediate purchase capabilities, attracted over half-a-million new fans and led to a 19 per cent increase in sales.
Jon Yongfook Cockle | Founder, Beatrix | Age 34:
Jon Yongfook Cockle describes himself as a “digital nomad”. A UK-born tech entrepreneur, Cockle began his career in Japan, working at an assortment of boutique agencies as well as Dentsu over the best part of a decade. Today, he relishes being able to work remotely without ties to any particular place, and has divided most of the past year between a wide range of locations across Southeast Asia. His current focus is Beatrix, an application that he calls a “virtual marketing assistant” that gathers content on a brand’s behalf to help populate its social media accounts. Cockle says he wants “even the most everyday companies, like a dentist or plumber, be able to have an interesting presence on social media in order to drive loyalty, engagement and broadening of their customer base”. He is also the man behind Pitchpigeon, a press release distribution platform for tech companies, and the recipe-sharing website Open Source Food, which Time named among the 50 best websites of 2008 and was subsequently acquired by Tsavo Media. He is the author of the Growth Hacking Handbook and a mentor to startups via the Singapore Management University and True Incube Thailand.
Kishore Parthasarathy | Data and analytics leader, Starcom MediaVest Group, Greater China | Age 34:
A degree in computer engineering, a natural flair for numbers, technology and coding, and an MBA in marketing made Parthasarathy a perfect fit for his role as data and analytics leader at Starcom. Over the last two years he has been instrumental in elevating the planning process by creating tools, techniques and products that enable more accountable investment decision-making for clients. One of his developments was an innovative performance-based planning product suite grounded in advanced econometric modelling which helped teams determine the best contact points based on the consumer journey. Suki Luo, senior manager media planning and innovation, P&G China, describes Parthasarathy as an “indispensable business partner”, attributing the 10 per cent rise in media efficiency experienced by the lifestyle brand to Parthasarathy’s expertise. Parthasarathy is also passionate about changing the way the industry views data and analytics. While the sector is traditionally seen as something which only experts can handle, he is determined to make it simpler and ensure everyone is able to use analytics to enhance their day-to-day work.
Koyi Wu | Associate director, Airwave (OMG Hong Kong) | Age 28:
At just 28, Koyi Wu is certainly one of the industry’s brightest young stars. A passionate proponent of a mobile-first marketing approach, Wu volunteered as OMD’s “mobile champion”, and pushed for an uptick in mobile spend which in turn saw mobile contribute to a 153 per cent year-on-year growth in 2013. As a result of her performance she was transferred to OMD’s specialist mobile agency in January to take up a new challenge. Despite her short tenure, she grew Airwave’s revenue by over 240 per cent in the first five months of 2014. Wu is constantly introducing groundbreaking mobile technologies for the planning/digital teams to exploit and experiment, such as Lifetime Value Tool, Sizmek HTML5 Republic Project, Yahoo Cross Screen Project and more. One project highlight has been her work for Wyeth. Spotting the emerging online trends for mothers to exchange opinions on milk formula and share videos taken for their kids, Wu approached Baby Kingdom with a proposal setting up a dedicated yet long-awaited ‘Milk Powder Forum’ sponsored by Wyeth. This not only drove consideration and awareness levels for the brand but also allowed the client to track real-time conversations for driving more valuable consumer insights. Alexandra Lo, Wyeth Nutrition’s senior digital manager, says Wu went “way above and beyond her scope of work without hesitation”. “Her passion and dedication towards mobile marketing and social media integrated our digital landscape roadmap beautifully.”
Mark Cochrane | CEO, Saatchi & Saatchi Thailand | Age 37:
When he took the reins at Saatchi & Saatchi Thailand in November 2012, Cochrane was presented with a daunting task: the office had just lost its two main clients due to regionalisation taking them to the agency’s Singapore hub. Cochrane immediately implemented an 18-month plan that involved a major shake-up of operations and ambitiously aggressive growth targets which he believed would “reignite and reimagine”. A review earlier this year showed the dramatic impact this had: an astounding 63 per cent of the division’s revenue was from new business won in the preceding 12 months, including contracts with Thanachart Bank, Virgin Active, Huawei and Garena, Asia’s largest gaming company. But aside from driving new business wins, Cochrane brought a sense of dynamism to the role, transforming the Thailand agency’s set-up into a “creative news room”. This innovative new system switched the focus of all operations to the real-time impact of campaigns to match the instant nature of the digital era. Chris Foster, Saatchi & Saatchi’s regional chairman and CEO, describes Cochrane as simply one of the network’s most inspirational leaders in Asia.
Melinda Po | Director of client services, AKQA Shanghai:
With a career straddling both sides of the Taiwan Straits, Melinda Po has forged an enviable reputation for integrity and fostering junior talent. Po initially cut her teeth in a creative role, working as a designer, producer and film editor in Taiwan before switching to client services in 2003. She moved to OgilvyOne the following year, and was group account director until moving to her present company in 2011. At AKQA, she has played a key role in developing the Shanghai office’s client portfolio, one of the main drivers of the agency’s China business growing by 60 per cent in 2013. New business won in the past year includes Ray-Ban, Lego and Budweiser. “Melinda has a knack of pulling the various client and agency teams together, melding conflicting views and priorities and keeping the targets in sight,” says Tan Pauy-Chin, IT director for marketing at Unilever Asia, Africa and Russia. Colleagues describe Po as a natural mentor who has focused much of her energy on developing younger talent. During her last two years at Ogilvy in Taiwan, she held the post of talent training director, running in-house digital training workshops and external seminars for students. In Shanghai she has continued these efforts in collaboration with the WPP School of Marketing and Communication.
Moritz Kaffsack | Head of Zeno Group, Vietnam | Age 34:
Moritz Kaffsack began at Zeno 18 months ago from his role as account director at Edelman India and in that short time has propelled it into the spotlight as one of Vietnam’s hottest social media agencies. His philosophy? To put social psychology and authentic storytelling at the heart of integrated marketing; to ensure different ‘approaches’ to social media marketing (e.g. emotion-based story-telling, authentic engagement and long-term relationship building) are at the forefront, rather than platforms. This has seen some successful and innovative campaigns including Nivea’s ‘Live Beyond’ campaign which used music a video to bring a PR idea to life, a campaign for Downy that features a dramatic re-enactment of relationships between men and women in Vietnam, and an approach to Nescafe’s farmer engagement that inspires influencers to create original content. Moritz is also the regional executive sponsor for talent and development for Zeno Asia, with a keen focus on nurturing talent and agency culture.
Mykim Chikli | CEO, ZenithOptimedia China:
An entrepreneur at heart, Chikli started out by running her family’s hotel and chain of retail outlets. She became passionate about the potential of online media early, and in 1999 helped develop France’s first ever ISP, Wanadoo. She joined ZenithOptimedia in France at a time when its digital credentials were a shadow of what they are today. Over six years, she transformed the agency to become one of the most respected in terms of digital in the country, and then set out to do the same in China. Her contribution has been significant. Over the past year, she led the wins of clients such as Fiat, President, Perfetti Van Melle and Clarins, the retention of Carlsberg, Mengniu and Reckitt Benckiser, and an increase in digital revenue, which now stands at around 30 per cent of the agency’s total. Recent business initiatives include the launch of Performics as a standalone digital marketing business in China and newcast as what Zenith terms a “non-traditional solutions division”. She became CEO early this year. “Despite her considerable success to date, Mykim is only really getting started,” says Gerry Boyle, ZenithOptimedia’s Asia-Pacific chairman, who calls her “a contemporary leader with an intuitive understanding of what clients need”.
Nicole Tan | Managing director, JWT Malaysia | Age 35:
Nicole Tan is the embodiment of an old industry fairy tale: working your way up from the office floor to the boardroom. After 18 years in the business, Tan is now MD of the office where her career began as a fresh-out-of-school teenage secretary. Aside from four years with Grey Malaysia early on, Tan has spent her whole career with JWT, and the loyalty she has shown to the company has been rewarded with a rapid rise through the ranks. Returning to her native Malaysia in early 2013 after nearly three years as business director of the Beijing office, Tan took it upon herself to revitalise the agency. She describes her management style as hiring a broad mix of “people who are better than me”, then giving them the support they need to shine. In Kuala Lumpur, she put this into practice by swiftly assembling a new team of both local and international talent, then setting them out on a six-month “pitch binge” to bring in new business, while at the same time developing existing clients. The move paid off, winning contracts with clients ranging from beer giant Carlsberg to the Line social messaging app and predicted to achieve double-digit growth in 2014. A straight-talking leader with a hard-won reputation for drive and passion, Tan is also known for her softer side. She is renowned for her capacity for empathy and placing strong emphasis on the social side of team-building.
Patrick Leclercq | Regional client service director, Bates CHI & Partners | Age 33:
Leclercq has been a major asset to Bates CHI & Partners over the past four years. He helped the company win its first Effie, and since last year has been a key driver of new business, converting US$4 million worth of clients regionally and globally. A former member of the WPP Fellowship programme, Leclercq spent time at Ogilvy in New York and is credited with developing IBM’s first social media campaign, which sought to make engagement an important part of the sales funnel. In Asia, his experience has centred around the hospitality, FMCG and entertainment sectors. This year saw him take on a lead role in client operations.
Peter Bosilkovski | Managing Director, Leo Burnett Sydney | Age 38:
Peter Bosilkovski’s recognition starts on the bottom line. He has tripled Leo Burnett Sydney’s portfolio in revenue terms and doubled the agency’s growth. Key to that was his lead on new business wins, including McDonald’s, Unibet, Smirnoff, Baileys, Bulleit Bourbon and Canon Retail. “The guy’s a bulldog, an animal—he just refuses to compromise,” said Matt Bruhn, Worldwide Smirnoff Brand Director, Diageo Global. “He’s on the edge of insanity most of the time, such is the veracity with which he attacks creativity. He has taken Diageo Australia from the creative wilderness to one of Australia’s most awarded companies.” Bosilkovski also pushed transformations in account management that produced a remarkably low staff turnover with 0% churn over the past three years. Since joining the agency, he was inducted into the Leo Burnett Worldwide Star Reacher program and this year he took a step up in responsibility, with a promotion to managing director. Prior to joining Leo Burnett, Bosilkovski was JWT Sydney’s youngest group account director and executive board member. WPP inducted him into its Worldwide High Achiever Program and during that time he helped win the agency’s first Cannes Lion in over 30 years.
Richard Newman | Chief marketing officer, McCann Worldgroup Asia-Pacific | Age 37:
A biological scientist by education but with an irrepressible flair for innovation and entrepreneurialism, Richard Newman applies a strict Darwinian mantra of “survival of the fittest” to his work. Newman’s career had a slightly eclectic beginnings, starting out as a media sales executive then becoming a corporate recruitment headhunter before moving on to become managing editor of The Reel, a showcase of international television advertising. In his two years at The Reel, Newman handled a successful rebranding and relaunch, and doubled its turnover. From there his entrepreneurial spirit took hold, and Newman helped establish Contagious Communications in 2004 as commercial director. At Contagious, Newman developed an interest in integrated communications, drawing digital, social, PR, media and other channels together at the very genesis of a campaign. Tapped by McCann in 2011 and relocating to Singapore, Newman’s impact on the regional scene was immediate. He has helped McCann boost its digital revenue by more than 30 per cent and last year was named Campaign’s New Business Person of the Year. Charles Cadell, president of McCann Worldgroup Asia-Pacific, says Newman has helped bring a fresh perspective to the agency. “He is going to be a clear star in the future no matter where he goes,” Cadell says.
Robert Woolfrey | APAC MD, Millennial Media | Age 33
Woolfrey joined Millennial Media in October 2011 as managing director for Southeast Asia. He was the organization’s first APAC employee and has built the Asia business from the ground up. Initially operating from his home, regional operations are now a multi-million dollar business. Over the past two years, Woolfrey grew the company, identifying opportunities in high-growth markets. In January, he become managing director for all of Asia-Pacific, adding Millennial Media’s offices in Japan, and new markets such as Korea, China, India, and Australia to his remit. “Robert is the classical frontier land man. He arrived in marketing land ahead of the mobile cowboy bandwagons, cleared the grounds and laid the early railway tracks,” said Jeffrey Seah, Southeast Asia CEO of Starcom MediaVest Group. Introducing products and services across areas such as measurement and attribution, cross-screen targeting and programmatic buying, Woolfrey’s aim is to make Asia Pacific a worldwide mobile hub.
Roopak Saluja | Founder and CEO, 120 Media Collective | Age 39:
How Saluja went from an MBA at Insead to founding and running Indian international production company, Bang Bang Film Studios, is a little unclear but it’s a move that’s paid off for him. In 2010, Bang Bang was rated as the nation’s second fastest growing company across all sectors. In 2013, he formed the 120 Media Collective, the parents company of Bang Bang Films and digital agency Jack in the Box Worldwide. Saluja has been on Campaign India’s A-List of the nation’s Most Influential People four years running since 2010 and has also been included on the Impact Digital Power 100 list of India’s digital media industry leaders in 2013 and 2014. It is Saluja’s business acumen and talent for production that Colvyn Harris, CEO of JWT South Asia, finds most impressive. “The ease with which he has transformed to the 120 Media Collective, and what he has achieved so quickly is very impressive. I think he is relentless, and spirited, and will go on to even greater success as he progresses,” added Harris.
Sam Ahmed | Senior vice-president & group head of marketing, APMEA, MasterCard Singapore | Age 39:
A strong sense of social responsibility and a “civic duty” to ensure economic growth benefits “all of Asia’s citizens” might seem atypical for the marketer of a major credit card, but Ahmed is not your ordinary capitalist. MasterCard’s regional marketing head has made it his goal to help the brand connect with the estimated 400 million people in the region who earn too little to participate in the modern economy of electrical transfers and cashless payments. Using the latest in mobile and chip technology and financial education, the finance company hopes to lift millions onto the bottom rungs of socioeconomic progress. Ahmed, a Harvard Business School graduate, is no stranger to such large-scale corporate social responsibility projects; he has long been an advocate of the benefits a good CSR policy can bring. Earlier in his career, he instigated a programme with the dairy giant Anlene that provided free bone-scanning for 20 million women across Asia, boosting awareness of osteoporosis. At MasterCard, driving social digital is a major component of Ahmed’s strategy, and he has overseen the merging of nine separate in-house digital agencies into a single digital lead agency to ensure consistent strategy across the region. Ahmed is convinced social digital should not be seen as simply another advertising channel, but rather a funnel through which the whole business flows.
Samuel Lam | MD, X Social | Age 33:
Samuel Lam founded X Social, which has become one of the largest Social media agencies in Asia Pacific. Focused on connecting multinational advertisers with Chinese audiences, the company has helped brands including DBS, Estee Lauder, SaSa and Sinomax build recognition and social engagement in China. Lam worked closely with Tencent to develop a proprietary system that allows online shopping via Wechat and lets users visit virtual stores. The system also gives brands a platform to refine updates or news in order to increase exposure and ROI for online storefronts. The Wyndham Hotel group also tapped Lam and the X Social team to establish and grow a social media presence for the company’s nearly 800 APAC properties that operate under multiple brand names. “Because of their endless dedication and responsive communications, we were able to grow our fan base by nearly 500 per cent,” said Cynthia Liu, senior director of marketing & loyalty APAC, Wyndham Hotel Group. All of Lam’s X Social achievements have been over the past two years.
| GM, TBWA Kuala Lumpur | Age 39:
After excelling as account director for Heineken at Bates Singapore, Shaun Tay was last year promoted to GM of TBWA Kuala Lumpur. Since taking on the new role, he has led the creation of the agency’s Field Marketing and Activation department and has been instrumental in the addition of major brands such as General Electric, Lee Kum Kee, SP Setia, and Nissanʼs Almeera and Serena S-Hybrid to the agencyʼs portfolio, with no client losses. He was instrumental in helping TBWA achieve Malaysian Agency of the Year at Campaign’s Agency of the Year awards in 2013, and was himself named Runner-Up for Campaign Asia-Pacific's South East Asian Account Person of the Year. While acting as headmaster of TBWA Kuala Lumpurʼs talent development programme, The Pirate University, Tay has seen staff turnover dramatically reduce. He also acts as a judge for numerous industry awards, and has been involved as a mentor at the Malaysian 4As Ad Unplugged University.
Simon Kemp | Regional managing partner, We Are Social Singapore | Age 36:
Simon Kemp lives and breathes social media — an infatuation that proves infectious with clients. During Lenovo’s selection of a social media agency, the tech brand’s digital director Rod Strother says Kemp “tipped the balance for us”. “His passion for social media was obvious from our first meeting,” says Strother, who also notes Kemp backs up his passion with an “incredibly well thought out understanding of the importance and relevance of social for brands”. Kemp launched We Are Social Singapore and grew it to a team of 30 people in just three years, before which he held regional strategy roles with BBH, Universal McCann and Starcom MediaVest. And his commitment stretches wider than We Are Social: Kemp has fast established himself as a champion of the sector, producing numerous free reports and content, such as social media guides for B2B brands and managing social media crises, as well as authoring his own ebook, Social Brands: The Future of Marketing. He is also founder of The Cartel, a collective that helps talented young DJs and producers from all over the world find and develop their audiences.
Simon Ruparelia | Head of digital, Golin, Asia | Age 34:
A true global marketer, Simon Ruparella honed his knowledge for a decade across Unilever’s portfolio of FMCG brands at a time where there was a shift to digital marketing. Showing great digital leadership early on, he helped put digital at the core of the company’s marketing strategy as well as establish a media lab to educate and empower marketers from every global category. His scope of responsibilities grew to cover social media agencies, auditing Asian markets on digital activation and establishing scalable processes with Unilever’s global digital agencies. With this solid background, Simon moved on to the agency world and forged ahead as head of digital at Golin Asia. In this role, Ruparella helped regional hub Golin Singapore achieve more than US$1 million in additional revenue and secure Unilever as a client across three brands within the year’s first quarter. Through his leadership and ability to foster talent, he grew Golin’s Asia team from one to twenty people and launched Smart Path, Golin’s collective ideation method. Taking things further, Ruparella developed 6 Bridges—real-time engagement centres to cover China, Hong Kong, Pakistan, India and Singapore—which focuses on daily team briefings to leverage trending topics, daily national news and global events for real time marketing opportunities. This solid platform has allowed Simon to break new ground in developing markets with digital campaigns and strategic projects like a joint-venture with Lowe in Pakistan.