Robert Sawatzky
Jan 22, 2019

DAN restructures regional media agencies, cuts jobs

Dentsu Aegis Network media agencies will no longer have APAC CEOs, instead forming three holding company-level working groups.

DAN restructures regional media agencies, cuts jobs

Dentsu Aegis Network is restructuring how its media agencies operate at regional level, dissolving its APAC CEO positions in Singapore, laying off staff and forming new business groups at the holding company level. Affected agencies include not just the main media agencies Carat, Dentsu X and Vizeum, but also performance agency iProspect and DAN's media innovation and investment arm, Amplifi.

The changes come in response to many months of challenging market conditions and are in line with changing client needs, DAN's outgoing APAC chief Nick Waters explained in a call with trade media.

"In the last 12 to 24 months, there’s been a trend among large multinational companies to move to a more global to local structure and that certainly had an impact on the business that we’ve had to take into consideration," Waters said. "So we’ve been bringing the national and international capabilities together and having a look at how we organise ourselves in that context and around the one P&L model."

DAN media agencies will now be brought together regionally in three main working groups headed from Singapore:

1. Brand Solutions Group 

Headed by current iProspect APAC CEO Joanna Catalano, this "brand fluid" group involving staff from Carat, Vizeum, Dentsu X and iProspect will focus on new business and new product development.  It will support global, APAC-wide and large local pitches. New product development will include developing strategic planning processes for agency brand, data and analytics intiatives, and partnerships with media and technology players.

Joanna Catalano

DAN's creative agencies are not yet involved in this reorganisation, but will be looked at in future.  Phil Teeman, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Singapore and SEA explained the Brand Solutions group will evolve to support more integrated opportunities between media and creative in future. 

2. One Singapore Media Group 

Led by former Carat APAC CEO Jonanthan Chadwick with managing director support from Dentsu X's Phil Adrien, it will bring together Carat, Vizeum, Dentsu X, iProspect and Amplifi into a single operating media unit across all those brands.

Jonathan Chadwick and Phil Adrien

“Those brands themselves will continue to have a client-teams operating with brand level oversignt.  But by bringing those teams together we’re going to ensure that we capitalise on capabilities that operate across the brands,” Teeman said. 

3. Client Solutions Group

This final group will be a virtual one led by a team to try to improve key client relationships across DAN with new capabilities.

Missing from the new group structure leadership is Vizeum APAC chief Duncan Pointer, along with Amplifi APAC president Sunil Yadav. Campaign understands DAN is looking for a new role for Pointer within the organisation.

DAN acknowledged the changes involved laying off approximately 2% of its regional staff of 700 employees in Singapore, but did not specify any departures. Campaign understands the layoffs took place Monday, all in Singapore, and were predominantly carried out among more senior-level staffers. Waters, however, characterised it differently.

Nick Waters and Phil Teeman

“Those affected are from across the spectrum of seniority, throughout the business really where roles have been identified as duplicates or no longer relevant in the context of the new structure,” he said. 

No restructuring changes were made outside of Singapore and Waters confirmed there were no plans to extend new changes to agencies in local markets. 

He added he hoped the ultimate outcome would lead to "greater agility" and simpler ways of moving resources and capabilities across clients depending on their needs. 

In a statement Waters noted the changes were purposefully made ahead of his planned move to lead the business in the UK and Ireland to help set this region up for future success. 

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