Matthew Miller
Sep 24, 2021

Initiative names APAC president

James Smyllie joins from Essence to fill the role that APAC CEO Leigh Terry has been covering since the departure of Will Anstee in April 2020.

Initiative names APAC president

IPG Mediabrands agency Initiative has hired James Smyllie as APAC president.

He joins from Essence, where he was senior vice president and head of media for the region and spent the last three years developing the agency’s consultancy and operating models.

He takes up the role, based in Singapore, on November 29, reporting to Amy Armstrong, global CEO of Initiative, and Terry. The president role has been vacant since the agency parted ways with its president of two years, Will Anstee, in April 2020 in what Terry freely admits was part of a cost-cutting effort. Terry covered the role in the interim, working with Matt Scotten, APAC chief strategy officer.

Prior to Essence, Smyllie’s career history includes time at Carat and Starcom. While at Carat, he was international client president leading Microsoft and Standard Chartered.

As the industry emerges from a "period of flux" that has presented both challenges and opportunities, Smyllie's appointment is a positive sign for the agency, Terry said in a release, noting Smyllie's experience in digital, creative strategy and client insight.

“I believe that Initiative, with its Cultural Velocity approach to media, is well positioned to help brands from all categories achieve success in what will be a highly competitive, but also very interesting few years ahead,” Smyllie said. 

Related Articles

Just Published

8 hours ago

WPP's Mark Read sees pay package surge

The holding company's resurgence has resulted in a near-doubling of Read's compensation.

8 hours ago

Mango and other ‘masstige’ brands shutter after ...

Counting their losses in China, affordable fashion and beauty brands are recalibrating their business strategies and turning to the US for expansion.

8 hours ago

The We ❤️ NYC campaign which didn't get much love

Brand creatives and New Yorkers alike wonder who truly owns a mark that’s become emblematic of the city itself.

9 hours ago

Mullen Lintas ropes in Meta's Ram Jayaraman as CCO ...

The creative strategist of Meta takes on the role previously held by Garima Khandelwal, who has moved on from the company.