Dentsu Aegis Network is promoting Tony Chen to run its media business in China, including its trading and investment arms, as the network aims to restore growth in the challenging mainland market.
As CEO of the media line of business in China, Chen will now guide Carat, dentsu X, Vizeum iProspect, Posterscope and Amplifi, reporting jointly to Michelle Lau, the CEO of Dentsu Aegis China and Peter Huijiboom, CEO of global clients and media at DAN.
Citing Chen's background in media and performance and his record in growing iProspect, developing organic growth and new business, Huijiboom stated in a release that "Tony’s rich experience and position as an industry leader means he was the perfect choice.”
Chen joined Dentsu Aegis Network in 2016 after most recently holding leadership positions at Google China and GroupM, and was immediately given three hats as the CEO of iProspect China, the chief innovation officer of DAN China and CEO of digital-performance brands North Asia.
With a mandate for growth, Chen is credited with integrating acquisitions Darwin and and Same Same but Different, as well as spearheading the addition of ecommerce business EBP last year.
Lau called Chen "an exceptional candidate for this role," noting that with "his experience across Google, GroupM, Dell, eBay and Yahoo, Tony is one of the most experienced digital pioneers who understands how to navigate and succeed amidst the complexity of the China market."
That DAN would promote someone with growth credentials in China is not surprising, given Dentsu's acknowledgement that the Chinese market has been difficult, noting in its most recent financial statements that there are "no green shoots of recovery" there.
Last month, DAN recruited former OMG APAC chief executive Cheuk Chiang to lead North Asia out of Shanghai with growing the China business as his top priority.
“China’s media landscape is one of the fastest changing and most demanding environments for marketers," Chen said of his promotion. "Success comes from a deep understanding of what clients need and providing the most effective solutions to build brands and drive performance. In this new role I’m looking forward to working with our brand leaders to ensure that as a group we continue to invest ahead of the curve".