Nishitani joins the digital media agency from Apple, where he worked as general manager for iAd, a mobile advertising platform that the company launched in 2010.
Nishitani will report to Kyoko Matsushita, Essence’s Tokyo-based Asia-Pacific chief executive. Matsushita said the agency had been looking for a “strong leader with local media knowledge”.
“Additionally, we wanted someone who could lead a team of experts to drive change within the regional media landscape,” she said.
While at iAd, Nishitani developed marketing partnerships with global brands and agencies.
In January, Apple announced plans to phase out iAd in its current form and lay off 100 employees from the platform’s sales division.
He has worked in marketing for 18 years, having started out at Dentsu. He went on to work at Walt Disney, Viacom and comScore.
Nishitani said Essence showed “massive growth potential in Japan and across Asia-Pacific”.
Japan is Essence’s most important market in Asia-Pacific in terms of revenue. According to Matsushita, Japan currently accounts for 65 percent of regional media spending for Essence. Clients include Google.
Speaking to Campaign earlier this year, Matsushita said marketers in Japan were rapidly becoming more data-driven and demanding greater transparency in terms of media spending and ROI.
Essence launched in Tokyo in 2014, having opened in Singapore a year earlier. It became part of GroupM following an acquisition last year.