SINGAPORE - Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) has appointed Joanna Catalano to the role of CEO for iProspect Asia Pacific, effective January 2017.
Catalano joins the search and performance agency from Google, where she worked for just over five years and most recently held the position of head of APAC agency business. She takes over from Ruth Stubbs, who was promoted to the role of president, in early October.
Speaking to Campaign Asia-Pacific, Catalano said many factors attracted her to DAN, including the fact that the network has two female global CEOs that sit in the region.
“A lot of networks struggle to be Asia-first in their thinking, but at DAN that isn’t the case,” she added. “They have a great culture and leadership with the highest opportunities, they really live their values.”
Catalano said hearing from the team at iProspect across the different markets will be her first priority, along with opportunities for inter-agency collaboration with the network.
“The business is in a really strong place right now, and that means that we get to be more creative,” she added.
Catalano noted that there is a misconception that performance marketing can’t be creative, and addressing this will be an untapped growth prospect for the agency. She pointed to the work that iProspect already does with intelligent content for Starwood Hotels as “just the tip of the iceberg”.
“That’s the conversation we will be having with marketing leaders in the region, around branding for performance,” she said. “There’s a lot of fragmentation in the market at the moment, and creative agencies are being held back by their business models. For an agency like iProspect, there’s a whole lot we can do with data and creative execution to fill the need.”
In a statement, Nick Waters, CEO of DAN Asia Pacific said Catalano was a “clear choice for the role”.
“There are significant opportunities for growth in the performance sector and we have big ambitions for the iProspect business,” he added. “There will be a smooth management transition as Ruth [Stubbs] moves into the global role and develops the full agency leadership team.”
Stubbs said Catalano brings a “depth of experience” in business development across the performance-marketing ecosystem but most importantly, understands the emerging landscape and the challenges clients are facing.
“Joanna [Catalano] will join the iProspect global leadership team in her role as CEO Asia Pacific working closely with me to deliver an ambitious growth plan for the business,” Stubbs said.