Philip Brett, president of TBWA\Singapore and Southeast Asia, told Campaign Asia-Pacific that the growing recognition of Southeast Asia as a key market for new and existing clients, coupled with Choe's desire to return to Singapore, led to the decision.
For some time the agency has "wanted to have someone with a purview that was beyond the borders of Singapore", but did not want to compromise on that person, Brett said. With experience in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia as well as China, Choe will play an important role with regional and global clients, Brett said.
"The last few years everyoe has been talking about China, but as an economy, I think people are now also talking about other areas of the world as growth engines," Brett said. "I've seen a more consistent number of clients coming to us, especially on the new business front, saying 'We're interested in Southeast Asia.'"
The move will take place by the end of the year, according to the agency, allowing time for a smooth transition in China, where a replacement is being sought.
A 28-year veteran who began his career at Batey Singapore and spent many years at Saatchi & Saatchi in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and China, Choe joined TBWA in Shanghai in 2011. His CV boasts numerous recognitions including 18 Cannes Lions. During his tenure in Shanghai, TBWA Greater China grew by 200 per cent, the agency noted.