After two-and-a-half years with Dentsu China, CEO Deric Wong is stepping down from the role effective August 23rd 2023, citing personal reasons for the exit. Replace him is Chun Yin Mak, a Greater China leader with a vast business experience across firms like IBM Consulting and Accenture. Yin Mak and Dentsu Hong Kong CEO Simone Tam will collaborate to build a strong presence for the agency across the Greater Bay Area.
Wong took the position in January 2021 after 13 years with OMG Hong Kong. Having worked in various capacities as Hong Kong OMD CEO and then later group CEO for Omnicom Media Group’s agencies in the SAR; he was no stranger to the Chinese market when he crossed over to Dentsu in 2021.
Responsible for continuing Dentsu's transformation program, that included driving integration, strengthening its go-to-market capabilities and building "a culture of inspiration and radical collaboration", Wong is credited with leading the agency through its most challenging period during Covid. Dentsu reported a slower organic growth in 2022, than most of its holding group peers. Despite solid leaps in India (20%+) and noteworthy performances in SEA and ANZ, China’s extended lockdowns and shutdowns contributed to the dragging ad spend, and along with it a flat organic growth for the region (2.5% for the year).
However, highlights for Wong include tapping into Gen Z creatives with the team Dentsu Z, delivering relevant insights, creating connections between the brand and the consumers of the demographic as well as pioneering Dentsu Next, a tech-forward way to create niche and rich experiences. Besides adding to the agency’s awards shelf with metals from Cannes Lions to Campaign’s Agency of the Year wins, under Wong’s tenure Dentsu China became the first integrated marketing and communications group that was invited to the World Artificial Intelligence Conference 2022.
Dentsu APAC CEO, Rob Gilby commented; “I’d like to thank Deric for his contribution to our business. He’s operated in a complex macroeconomic environment, stabilising and strengthening Dentsu’s culture and capabilities with focus on client centricity, organisational design and operational excellence. As a leader, he has overcome many challenges, leading with integrity and with an infectious energy that has engaged teams around the business. I wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”
Deric Wong, added: “It’s been a privilege to lead Dentsu through this period of challenge and growth as one of the best-connected solution eco-systems in the market. I truly believe that we have created a strong bedrock for the business to thrive and I’m proud of what we have delivered together. I wish the team well and look forward to hearing of their future success.”
Meanwhile Chun Yin Mak, who was most recently the managing partner of business transformation services for APAC at IBM Consulting, takes over the role effective 14 August.
Rob Gilby noted on the appointment: “Chun joins at a time of great opportunity. His knowledge of China’s business environments, understanding of the complex and fast-paced industry ecosystems, coupled with his experience servicing a number of the region’s leading local brands and multinationals will provide new paths and opportunities for growth.”
“His progressive, results orientated leadership style, outstanding commercial record and ability to navigate complex market conditions will support our teams to deliver results for our clients in this critical marketplace.
Mak has 25 years of experience predominantly based in Greater China, with a seven-year stint in North America at the start of his career at Accenture. He spent the last 17 years, ten of those in senior leadership roles in Greater China and Asia Pacific. He is known to build solutions to address opportunities that evolving market conditions provide. Notably, he led his team to form and launch IBM iX (IBM’s Interactive Experience practice) in Greater China in 2015. There have also been multiple other innovation businesses to his credit.
He will be based in Shanghai and report to Gilby. Mak will also join the Dentsu APAC executive team.
Mak said; “It’s an exciting time to join Dentsu in one of the most important markets in the world. I have been impressed with the strategy and vision for the company and the core differentiating competencies being invested in to enable imaginative new value creation for our clients. Couple this with the exponential potential of the market and strong partnerships the business has, I strongly believe we have the opportunity to deliver next-level impact and outcomes for brands and clients.”