Campaign Staff
Jun 26, 2023

'I did run my internal battery empty': S4 Capital APAC CEO resigns

After close to five years with the agency, APAC chief executive Michel de Rijk has resigned. MediaMonks's co-founder Ignacio Liaudat and MightyHive's managing director Kenny Griffiths will lead S4 in APAC in the interim as the company searches for a replacement.

Michel de Rijk
Michel de Rijk

Michel de Rijk, the chief executive for Asia Pacific of S4 Capital, has announced his sudden resignation via a LinkedIn post.

Having spent nearly five years leading S4 Capital/MediaMonks, de Rijk claims his decision to leave the company is for a desire to "refocus on other aspects of his life."

Citing pace of the company’s growth during the pandemic, de Rijk highlighted the immense toll it has taken on himself.

“From extended lockdowns, social gathering bans, inability to visit family for years, attend weddings and funerals of loved ones because of closed borders to food package deliveries to colleagues homes and oxygen deliveries to hospitals. But also the unfortunate loss of (ex)colleagues and friends because of the horrible virus. The emotional impact on many will be there for years to come.”

“During this period we launched a new company, brought 33 acquisitions globally and 9 in APAC together under 1 structure, P&L, brand and operations,” wrote de Rijk.

“We grew the business 700+%, expanded across the region. But all of that came at a cost, I did run my internal battery empty, it impacted my personality, who I am and what I stand for, it impacted my family and joy in life. That’s the reason why I resigned.”

According to de Rijk, he will take some time off to spend with family, travel, read and explore before deciding on his future.

“With all the exciting developments in our industry and outside, i'm sure something will come on my path,” he added.

In a statement to Campaign Asia-Pacific, S4 confirmed de Rijk's departure and said he will stay on his role until September.

In the meantime, MediaMonks's co-founder Ignacio Liaudat will act as an executive sponsor and interim regional leader for the content practice in APAC, as S4 searches for de Rijk's replacement.

Liaudat currently leads S4’s Latin America region and according to the holding group, has recently spent ‘significant time’ with the teams in APAC.

He will work closely with de Rijk during the three-month transition period as well as Kenny Griffiths, managing director for APAC at S4-owned MightyHive.

S4 said de Rijk’s impending departure is as an opportunity to further integrate its teams for the next stages of growth in the APAC region.

"Michel has been a valuable part of our leadership team over his time with the business. He has aided our global leadership in building a creative and resilient team of innovators in the Asia Pacific region. We wish Michel all the best in the future," said S4.

A key lieutanant of S4's founder Martin Sorrell, de Rijk spent close to seven years working for Sorrell at WPP, holding senior leadership roles in Xaxis and GroupM. He then followed Sorrell to S4 after the latter's departure from the holding group.

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