Matthew Miller
Dec 1, 2014

Dentsu Aegis Network cements China management team

SHANGHAI - In a widely expected move, Motohiro Yamagishi will become China CEO while Phil Teeman will take the post of group managing director, effective 1 January, Dentsu Aegis Network announced today.

L-R: Kyushima, Yamagishi, Lee, Teeman
L-R: Kyushima, Yamagishi, Lee, Teeman

KF Lee will remain chairwoman and Nubuaki Kyushima chief operating officer. Lee and Yamagishi will report to Waters, while Teeman will report to Yamagishi.

The new management structure sends the market a message of "continuity and stability" by retaining all of the senior talent from both sides of the Dentsu-Aegis merger, Nick Waters, Asia-Pacific CEO, told Campaign Asia-Pacific this morning. The team represents a good balance of experience with Japanese clients, international clients and China clients, he added.

The move culminates an integration process that began in January when Waters took charge of the newly formed network as Asia-Pacific CEO. At that time he announced that full integration in China would take another year. In September he told Campaign Asia-Pacific that back-office integration was complete, and that integration would be complete by January 2015. He cited the need to complete some acquisitions that began before Dentu's acquisition of Aegis, as well as political tensions between Japan and China, as reasons for the prudent pace.

"We have not lost any accounts because of the merger," Waters said today. "We haven’t lost any senior talent, and we have managed to keep an eye on growing the business." Supporting the latter point, he cited Dentsu's recently announced results for the April-September period, which showed "sector-leading" 15 per cent growth in Asia-Pacific.

Looking ahead, Waters said he sees prospects in China a little differently than the popular narrative. While the world talks about China's economy moderating, Waters said the reforms underway support the marketing-communications industry because they encourage domestic consumption. 

"We will certainly expect to see stong growth continuing for the foreseeable future," he said. While the rate of growth with will be moderate in the broadcast arena, he stll sees growth of 20 per cent in the digital stream as achievable.

E-commerce represents one area where Dentsu Aegis Network will be looking to bring more value to clients, he said.

While not ruling out acquisitions, Waters sounded a measured note. "We’ll certainly keep an open mind on acquisitions," he said. "But we have rapidly scaled the business over the last year. So they’re on the agenda, but perhaps not quite as high a priority as in the last couple years."


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