DDB has promoted Matthew Cheng to CEO of DDB Group China effective January 2. He was previously MD of the Beijing and Guangzhou offices and MD for Tribal Worldwide China.
He will succeed Danny Mok, president and CEO since early 2017, who is leaving the agency and returning to Hong Kong for a client-side role starting in March, according to DDB.
Along with chief creative officer Allen Lee and chief strategy officer Laura Liang, Cheng will form a "vibrant and progressive made-for-China management team", the agency said.
DDB credits Cheng, a member of Campaign Asia-Pacific's 40 under 40 in 2018, with an "instrumental" role in growing local and MNC accounts such as Amway, Mars Wrigley, H3C and Unicloud.
“Danny Mok has done a great job assembling and building an enterprising team for DDB China,” David Tang, CEO of DDB Asia, said in a release. “In Matthew, he has groomed a ‘right-hand’ agency leader, supported by an exceptional team with a China growth focus.”
Cheng joined DDB in early 2017 from Leo Burnett and "has transformed the agency and client’s businesses with his dedication, honesty and high-energy style", DDB said.
"In 2020, DDB China Group will keep on reinforcing its core strength in China market," Cheng told Campaign. "A highly attractive agency that can develop brilliant integrated campaigns, with a perfect combination of ATL and digital capabilities."
The agency will transform the campaign development process in order to deliver better quality work in a more efficient way, he added. "Last month, this new process, namely 'DDB War Room', has been started in one DDB office," he said. "Instead of using a traditional linear working process (from one department to another), we put key senior members in one war room to brainstorm the directions and let other teammates make the campaign execution so that the client can get the best quality work at a fast pace. We will adopt this approach in all three offices in 2020."
Mok expressed pride in Cheng's advancement and said it has taken him three years to get the best and brightest talent to come together. "With Allen Lee and Laura Liang together, we now have a ‘China best talent’ team," he said. "It’s been more than 10 years for me working in China, but my heart will always be with this team.”
DDB Group China said it is has added seven new clients to its portfolio in the last six months, including Unilever Cornetto, Amway, Hennessy and SEAT.