SHANGHAI - Grace Liu (刘锡芸), formerly CEO of TNS and TNS Sinotrust China, will lead Isobar China in a newly created CEO role.
Liu will be in charge of Isobar's Shanghai and Beijing offices. Her remit is not to be confused with Isobar China Group, a group of five agencies including OMP-Linked by Isobar led by Jeffery Ding (丁峻峰), Trio Isobar led by Chris Chen (陈民辕), Verawom-Linked by Isobar led by Jack Wang (王劼) and VeryStar-Linked by Isobar led by Milan Jiang (蒋美兰).
Liu will be charged with strengthening Isobar’s creative, innovation and service offerings, leading strategic accounts and overseeing overall operations to drive strategic growth.
While her background at TNS may make her a surprising choice, the agency said talent with diverse backgrounds—specifically Liu's experience in consumer insight and research—is important as it looks to "scale up" its services.
Another staffer strong in market research, Eve Lo (罗莹), former chief knowledge officer of GroupM China, was hired as brand strategy head in July 2014.
Liu will be based in Shanghai, reporting to Jane Lin-Baden (林真), CEO of Isobar APAC and Isobar China Group, whose own remit was increased from China to a regional one in June 2016.
"We deliberately did not look for a leader from a digital agency," Lin-Baden told Campaign Asia-Pacific. "We wanted someone outside the system who went through a very rigorous process in organisation integration."
As for TNS Sinotrust, the business is being folded under WPP's data investment management division Kantar, and rebranded with a unifying prefix to 'Kantar TNS'. It is understood that a new China CEO, to replace Liu, will be announced soon.