TBWA anounced Thubron's departure in October, and when contacted today, the agency had no further comment as to whether it has a successor lined up, or even has plans to fill Thubron's shoes.
AsiaStrategies, explained Thubron, who will continue to be based in Hong Kong and Perth, is a consultantcy that targets medium- to long-term board or executive involvement with companies or brands that wish to enter the Asian market or increase effectiveness in the region. It currently has three employees including Thubron.
"What I'm trying to do is take 26 years in the communications industry, which is all about revenue generation for clients, and 15 years of running companies, and bundle it into an advisory package that clients and brands looking at Asia would want," he said.
The goal, said Thubron, is not to take on the Bains and McKinseys in the field, which typically are called in by global entities for multi-million-dollar assignments, but to work with two to three companies that are looking for his ability to strategise and execute. "What companies working with me are interested in is my experience, my network, and my capability of driving businesses and brands in Asia-Pacific," he said. "This venture is not a homogenised consultancy. This is me."
Thubron has established working partnerships with a number of partners across Asia that correlate with the services his consultantcy is offering. These include SI Partners (management consultantcy/M&A), The Fountain Group (branding), ESG International (recruitment), NEO Compradore (investment/private equity), Mammoth Hunters (corporate/employee alignment), Dextra Partners (law, tax) and Marketing Bytes (digital marketing).
"I don't think there's anyone who can do everything," Thubron said. "So while AsiaStrategies provides core business strategy and leadership services, there are times when we need a specific entity to help with branding, M&A or HR. So I've spoken to people I deeply respect in those ares to form a non-equity business partnership with them."
At the moment, Thubron can name two companies he's working with under the AsiaStrategies umbrella. The first is a board director post with Titan Digital, a digital marketing agency that targets SME clients. His remit is to help the company grow its business over a four- to five-year period. The second, is the role of CEO at GolfGreatRealEstate.com, a site that connects sellers and buyers of real estate located on golf courses.
The decision to leave TBWA after over a decade, said Thubron, was made over a period of time and was due to a host of contributing factors. "Stage of my life, my age, my career, desire to do something different, my third child going to high school which has led me wanting a job that doesn't involve so much travel and, if you believe in serendipity, that I'm turning 50 this year."
There's also the realisation that the skills he's picked up in advertising cuts across many industries and are in demand. "I'm talking to companies where branding and business strategy is a foreign language," he said. "They're bloody good at what they do, but they lack the capability that working in the ad industry grants."