Isobar China Group announced leadership changes that it says will strengthen its ability to support the digital-transformation efforts of its clients in China. The company has promoted Tammy Sheu to CEO and Britney Pai to chief growth officer, while Alvin Huang, who was named CEO in late 2017, will move into a newly created role as chief commerce officer.
Chris Chen continues as chief creative officer, rounding out the executive team.
The new roles are effective September 1, and all four executives will be based in Shanghai. Pai, Chen and Huang will report to Sheu, who will report to Michelle Lau, Dentsu Aegis China CEO.
Sheu was previously COO. She joined Isobar in June from Tencent, where she was vice president of Tencent Cloud. She has more than 20 years of leadership experience in agencies and martech companies in China.
Pai, who was appointed vice president of entertainment marketing solutions in early 2018, is a founder of Trio Isobar. She is credited with pioneering the development of IP for Isobar China, working with Dentsu Japan to create collaborations that combine entertainment, social and content to connect to commerce.
Huang will be tasked to drive strategic development in what global CEO Jean Lin called the highest-growth area of Isobar's business: connected commerce. Huang has been with Isobar since 2004 and has more than 20 years of experience. Prior to CEO, he was managing director and previously managing partner for integrated media for the group and MD of Isobar’s Shanghai and Beijing offices.
"Developing digital-commerce solutions both for Isobar China Group and for establishing best connected-commerce practice across the Dentsu Aegis brands in China is one of our top priorities, and [Huang] is best placed to lead this in our China team," Lin told Campaign Asia-Pacific.
As for Sheu, Lin praised her operational expertise and experience in China’s martech ecosystem. "We are the most intelligent when the team leverages each other’s strength and works collaboratively together, and this C-suite of executives will work together in a collaborative way to drive success," she said.
Sheu said an initial focus will be internal culture. "Our focus is to truly be an ideas-led, tech-enabled, and data-driven organisation," she told Campaign. "Having spent four years in tech culture I realise how important this balance is. I want to ensure we’re an agile organisation that’s ready to respond to our clients’ needs and the changing marketplace."
She also mentioned investing in proprietary technology, "upgrading and automating so our people have the knowledge and courage to create business growth plans for our clients, not just campaigns".
"I want to ensure that every young person who loves creativity and joins Isobar, is confident in the solutions they build and has a sense of accomplishment," she added.
Asked if her experience at Tencent indicates more cooperation with that company in the future, Sheu answered, "Yes absolutely, along with other media owners".
"Tencent is a key partner for Isobar and Dentsu Aegis Network, and we have an established collaboration with them that is focused on creating additional value for our clients," she said. "Cooperation isn’t just media. The power of the Tencent lies in their creation of a full business ecosystem. Our value as an agency is to be the bridge and better connect their ecosystem to our client’s needs."
Isobar is also expanding collaboration with Tencent in smart retail, Sheu said. "We share the same belief in being consumer-centric and experience-led in everything we do," she said, adding that the focus is on end-to-end solutions that deliver a seamless shopping experience and a rich brand experience.