Jenny Chan 陳詠欣
Jan 22, 2016

DDB poaches Carol Lam from Saatchi & Saatchi to run Hong Kong office

HONG KONG - Carol Lam (林小琪) will become DDB's chief creative officer and managing director for Hong Kong starting 1 March, after running Saatchi & Saatchi's South China creative operations for the last three and a half years.

DDB poaches Carol Lam from Saatchi & Saatchi to run Hong Kong office

Reporting to DDB Asia CEO David Tang, Lam will be supported by the Hong Kong office’s existing management team, and will be tasked to further elevate the agency’s delivery of creative excellence while driving its growth agenda.

Lam's immediate plans at DDB when she gets on board are to "tighten up the team and boost morale—not to say they have low morale right now". 

She comes to DDB from Saatchi & Saatchi South China, where she was chief creative officer and managing partner. Previously, she spent five years with McCann Shanghai as CCO and managing director, and with TBWA Shanghai as ECD.

Before her China stints, the Hong Kong native was ECD of McCann Hong Kong, in charge of the Cathay Pacific account.

“Carol is a top-class creative star full of passion and imagination, and a great leader," said Tang, who personally lured Lam to DDB. 

"In my 20+ years in the industry, I have 'touched' almost every agency, except DDB," Lam said. "When David approached me, we immediately clicked. I look forward to working with David and my new comrades." Chemistry with DDB's team was one of the main factors prompting the move, she added.

The role was left vacant for a year after Simone Tam and Jeffry Gamble left DDB for Mcgarrybowen.
Lam told Campaign Asia-Pacific in an exclusive interview that she has "long admired DDB’s core values of creativity and humanity" and does not view her new position of running just the Hong Kong office as a downgrade in remit, but a more focused one.
"It’s not about doing less," she said. "It’s about how my role helps the company enlarge the pie as a whole. It’s about value creation."
"I never underestimate the challenge I’m given. The only difference between my old and new jobs is that I’m based in Hong Kong. Clients also based (t)here have business visions that cover the whole of Greater China. As long as our development directions are the same, together we make our clients shine wherever their battleground may be.”
According to Lam, DDB's client roster is a "broader mix" of retail that includes FMCG and entertainment properties.
Furthermore, Saatchi & Saatchi and DDB are executing their China strategies differently, she pointed out. "Saatchi combines Hong Kong and Guangzhou under South China, but DDB doesn’t do it this way—Guangzhou is under the management of DDB China ‎president and CEO Richard Tan," she said. 
In the eyes of Chinese clients, creativity from Hong Kong still has a competitive edge because world-class creative talents are willing to work in the city. From an operational perspective, costs and taxes are lower than in China, so more money can be really invested in talent, she said.
"I just feel I have to move on, but I'm still on very good terms with Michael Lee [Saatchi & Saatchi Greater China CEO]," she said.

Saatchi & Saatchi will announce new creative leadership for Greater China "in the coming weeks”, according to Lee, who added, "Carol has done a great job since she joined us in 2012. Saatchi & Saatchi Hong Kong has won three Creative Agency of the Year awards over the past two years and was one of the most awarded creative agencies in Hong Kong for 2015. All of this could not have happened without Carol’s contributions."

She has extensive experience judging award shows globally and locally, including the One Show, D&AD, Clio, ANDY, New York Festivals, Spikes Asia, AdFest Lotus, Long Xi and China 4As.


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