Matthew Miller
Dec 7, 2017

Grey makes leadership changes in Singapore, Indonesia

New Singapore CEO says his immediate focus will be on instilling a startup mentality and rapidly expanding the agency's capabilities, especially in digital.

Konstantin Popovic
Konstantin Popovic

Grey Group has named Konstantin Popovic to take over as CEO of Grey Group Singapore in January. He will assume the new position in addition to his current role as executive vice president and MD leading GSK across Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

Popovic will report to Nirvik Singh, chairman and CEO of Grey Group Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. His leadership team includes Neil Cotton, chief strategy officer, who joined at the beginning of the year, and Tim Cheng, chief creative officer, who joined in June.  

The Singapore shop's current CEO, Subbaraju Alluri, who already served as area director for Thailand, will become area director for Indonesia and Thailand, and will continue to report to Singh. Monika Rudijono, the current CEO of Grey Group Indonesia, is leaving the company to "pursue other opportunities", Grey said. In addition, Grey named Sharan Sood general manager of Grey Group Indonesia. He will continue to focus on his role as country lead for Indonesia with WPP's team P&G, and will report to Alluri.

Popovic, who joined Grey in Singapore in 2015 following stints at Publicis and BBDO in New York, said his two primary areas of focus will be "instilling a new attitude and rapid capabilities expansion".

"Grey just turned 100 years old, but we are adopting the mindset of a startup," he told Campaign Asia-Pacific. "Think of it as an 'always in beta' mindset: constantly improving, pushing, experimenting."

One of the first manifestations of that, Popovic revealed, is that Grey is launching a startup incubator, called Grey Adventures, about which the agency will share more details tomorrow. "We will also expand our shopper marketing capability—probably one of the best-kept secrets in town, although we do shopper work for some of our global blue-chip clients."

He added that with Cheng aboard, the agency will continue to elevate its creative product for every client. "Grey knows its purpose," he said. "We just need to execute it better and be the best in town at 'famously effective' work."

Asked for his assessment of the Singapore office's strengths and weaknesses, Popovic cited this year's influx of leadership and strong "clarity of vision" among the leadership team, but allowed that the agency has "catching up to do in terms of our digital transformation", which will also be an area of immediate focus.

Citing the maxim that 'culture eats strategy for breakfast', he said the agency will be spending more time on the former: "More transparency, more participation and several new programs that are proven to drive employee performance and happiness, like yoga classes, our Grey Running Club and our Friday Inspiration Talks," he said.

"My mission is less about fixing and more about unleashing potential and proper transformation to futureproof the agency at a time when the entire industry is in turmoil," he added.

Popovic said Cheng's presence is already having an impact on the new-business conversion rate, and hinted at a significant announcement "very soon". 

"We have now completed our renewal of the Grey Group Singapore leadership," Singh said in a press release. "[Popovic] has a proven track record in being strategic and bold and in winning businesses. In addition, his drive and his understanding of the digital and marketing landscape will be instrumental in the continuing transformation of our agency."

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