Jenny Chan 陳詠欣
Sep 20, 2016

Interpublic loses one to DAN as Carat names China CEO

McCann Worldgroup Shanghai's group MD heads to the DAN media agency.

Ellen Hou (侯静雯)
Ellen Hou (侯静雯)

SHANGHAI - Dentsu Aegis Network has hired Ellen Hou (侯静雯), group managing director at McCann Worldgroup Shanghai, as CEO of Carat China, in line with its resolve not to hire a 'typical' media-agency person.

Hou takes over the role vacated in April by Adil Zaim, who told Campaign Asia-Pacific at the time that Carat's management team is not in favour of hiring a "typical media-agency person who holds a traditional mindset".

Part of the 'first generation' of local planners in mainland China, Hou is one of the few strategists to rise to the level of senior management, the other being Edward Bell (CEO of FCB Greater China).

"Reinvention is what Carat takes on as the organisation’s mission, and this really excites me,” Hou said.

Based in Shanghai, she will report to Phil Teeman, group managing director at Dentsu Aegis Network China. Hou will continue Zaim's mandate to to deliver "convergent communication solutions" for Carat.

Hou is an "invaluable" hire for Carat in an environment where the boundaries between creative, digital and media agencies are intersecting, said Sean O’Brien, CEO of Carat Asia Pacific, who temporarily took over Zaim's role while the agency was in the final stages of a decision.

Existing second-in-commands at Carat China seem to fall into the 'traditional' category and are not a good fit, Zaim said then. "Someone with a slightly different background" would fit the bill, he added.

It was assumed at that time that Carat would make the hunt within Dentsu Aegis Network, so Hou's background at Interpublic-owned McCann makes her the second surprising top hire this month (the most recent being Grace Liu, who moved from TNS to Isobar).

A spokesperson for McCann Shanghai said it is considering some candidates and will announce Hou's replacement "when the time is appropriate".

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