Byravee Iyer
Sep 26, 2013

IPG picks creative agency veteran Anthony Plant as Japan CEO

TOKYO - IPG Mediabrands, the global media holding company of Interpublic Group, has announced that Saatchi & Saatchi veteran Anthony Plant is joining as CEO in Japan.

Anthony Plant
Anthony Plant

Plant will be directing IPG Mediabrands’ presence in the Japanese market, assuming leadership of its marquee global agency UM as well as the satellite of services operating as the Mediabrands Audience Platform (MAP). He will be working towards new levels of collaboration between IPG agencies and spurring more efficiency in investment, IPG said in a press statement.

Plant will report into Jim Hytner, CEO G14 Mediabrands. Kaoru Matsui was previously CEO of IPG Mediabrands in Japan, however, UM did not come under his job description. The company is presently in discussion with Matsui about other opportunities. Joe Nakamura, CEO of UM Japan, will start reporting into Plant.

A spokesperson for the company said the latest announcement is part of IPG Mediabrands' reorganization around global clusters. In April, it appointed Cary Huang as CEO for China. Similar appointments have been made in other G14 clusters including India, Mexico and the UK.

Japan is is part of the agency's G14 cluster, alongside Australia, Benelux, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy,  Mexico, Russia, Spain and the UK. The company has installed Mediabrands-specific leadership in several individual markets over the past 12 months to extend the gains of this reorganization.

“The Japanese market holds a lot of potential for growth within it,” said Jim Hytner, CEO G14 Mediabrands. “Anthony is a stalwart, he’s done it all with Saatchi & Saatchi, working over the years with leading companies like Disney and Burger King and Visa coming up big for them.”

In an interview with Campaign Asia-Pacific earlier this year, Hytner talked candidly about Japan. He pointed out that Japan was among the top six markets in the cluster and was keen to improve the company’s presence in the country. IPG’s clients in Japan include Coca Cola, Microsoft and Johnson & Johnson. He called Japan a challenging market because clients still look at the creative agency as the lead agency.

Perhaps that explains his choice in hiring Plant as CEO. “So we’re going through a transition period that the US and Europe went through some years ago,” Hytner said. “It’s a tough market because you tend to be going in with the creative agency as either and equal or a subordinate and we need to show them that media agencies are just as important.”

Plant has a proven track record of establishing agencies both within and outside Asia. He  launched an integrated marketing company in London, a shopper agency in China and re-established Saatchi & Saatchi in Hong Kong.  

Plant has worked with Saatchi & Saatchi in both Europe and Asia. He spent several years as regional account director before working his way up to European board level. He became managing director of the company’s Saatchi & Saatchi Experience offering in 2003 and launched Saatchi X Shopper marketing in 2005 and served as its CEO, while serving as Saatchi & Saatchi’s Hong Kong CEO. 

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